Robert Kirkland Kernighan

(25 April 1854 – 3 November 1926 / Ontario)

Tough Men - Poem by Robert Kirkland Kernighan

Of all the saints within my ken
(Of them I hardly know enough),

I think God always chooses men

Who once were known as rather tough.

The story thro' my mem'ry croons :

These saints, once on a time, were ' off ;'

God hunted thro' the beer saloons,

And whiskey dives, for John B. Gough.

The fiercest of the Pharisees
The bloody-handed ruffian, Saul :

He heard his Lord, and from his knees
Arose, the great Apostle Paul.

The Three went up thro' Canaan's land
The story in The Book occurs

In danger from a bigot band :
A harlot hid His messengers.

Did holier women hear the call ?

Don't know ! The facts are simply these
A harlot let them from the wall,

And saved the threatened refugees.


A man ! the serpent's head to bruise ;

A man ! a man ! he 's hard to get !
I never knew my Lord to choose

A sniv'ling holy Willie yet !

But when my Lord hath found His man,
To do His work, and do it well,

Upon a strange and wondrous plan,
He takes His champion down to hell.

And leaves him there in grief and pain ;

'Mid malice, envy, hatred, spleen
Then brings him forth to earth again,

To tell the world what he has seen.

My granny oft to me hath said :
' These men are choosed to set to rights
The mess that, every day, is made

By windy, loud-lunged blatherskites.'

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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 14, 2012

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