Robert Kirkland Kernighan
Poker, Push And Prosperity - Poem by Robert Kirkland Kernighan
So talk as you will of the Poker game
It built up this country just the same ;
For it taught our people to keep their nerve,
And to never blanch going round the curve.
It taught 'em to smile when their luck was bad,
And it taught 'em to frown when feeling glad.
It taught 'em to sigh and look in the dubs,
When they held four kings and the ace of clubs.
It taught 'em to chirrup and look quite glad,
When a pair of deuces was all they had.
Many a railway was built with a rush
Its capital only a bob-tailed flush.
Many a man set the world in a craze,
When all that he held was a pair of trays.
Many an elegant business starts
On the nine of spades and the queen of hearts.
They learned that nobody need want ' the stuff :'
All they needed was nerve to bluff
A splendid confidence a courage grand
A hand unshaking, and plenty of sand :
Courting a girl, or starting a row ;
Running for office, or buying a cow ;
Sparking a widow, or building a town ;
Preaching, or calling the governor down ;
Flinging a bridge over canon or pass,
Or calmly boring for natural gas ;
Working in climates both frigid and hot
Hunting the walrus or sailing a yacht ;
Going to church, or backing a bruiser ;
Keeping hotel, or building a cruiser ;
Erecting a church, to Christians a boon,
Or running a beautiful big saloon ;
Making it easy for folks to do well,
Or rigging a slick toboggan to hell ;
Building a bank, or erecting a jail :
You 'd swear that their hand was as big as a whale ;
Marrying a wife, or gobbling their mush :
You 'd think that they 'd captured a royal flush.
You may preach, as you like, of the shame and the
Yet life is a terrible Poker game.
Life is the limit ; the jackpot, success,
Wealth and applause, and sweet love's tenderness ;
Love or dishonor triumph or disgrace
Or a bed in the ditch when you draw for an ace.
Our lifeblood, our hopes in Heaven or earth,
We gamble away from the day of our birth.
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