Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The God Of Common-Sense


My Daddy used to wallop me for every small offense:
"Its takes a hair-brush back," said he, "to teach kids common-sense."
And still to-day I scarce can look a hair-brush in the face.
Without I want in sympathy to pat a tender place.
For Dad declared with unction: "Spare the brush and spoil the brat."
The dear old man! What e'er his faults he never did do that;
And though a score of years have gone since he departed hence,
I still revere his deity, The God of Common-sense.

How often I have played the ass (Man's universal fate),
Yet always I have saved myself before it was too late;
How often tangled with a dame - you know how these things are,
Yet always had the gumption not to carry on too far;
Remembering that fancy skirts, however high they go,
Are not to be stacked up against a bunch of hard-earned dough;
And sentiment has little weight compared with pounds and pence,
According to the gospel of the God of Common-sense.

Oh blessing on that old hair-brush my Daddy used to whack
With such benign precision on the basement of my back.
Oh blessings on his wisdom, saying: "Son, don't play the fool,
Let prudence be your counselor and reason be your rule.
Don't get romantic notions, always act with judgment calm,
Poetical emotions ain't in practice worth a damn/
let solid comfort be your goal, self-interest your guide. . . ."
Then just as if to emphasize, whack! whack! the brush he plied.
And so I often wonder if my luck is Providence,
or just my humble tribute to the God of Common-sense.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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