Robert Kirkland Kernighan

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Robert Kirkland Kernighan Poems

I sit with my feet in the oven,
My nose close up to the pipe ;
I 'm as jokey as any spring robin,
That 's fresh and is rather unripe.

The world is wide and the faithful tide
Returns to the welcome sands ;
It 's often true that the work we do
Conies back to its maker's hands.

Draw up to the fire, stranger ;
You can't go out on a day like this,
When the drifts are high an the blizzards hiss ;
Yer comfortabler with us, I wis

I heard a curse from a lower beast :
I heard his whip lash crack like shot :
I watched and heard till my heart was sore,
And all the blood in my veins was hot.

And none but I the secret k/iew
Of where the precious ginseng grew.
One autumn, when the woods were brown,
I plowed the old-time fallow down,

Do the beasts of burden that strive and groan
And writhe and crouch 'neath the pitiless rod
Are they never allowed to make their moan
And lay their wrongs at the feet of God ?


A Library of prudent lore,
For prince or bearer of the hod ;
'Tis always an unfailing store
Of Truth such is the Word of God.

They are choppin up the kindlin, an they're fillin up the
kettle ;
The folks hev et thur breakfusts before the break of
day :
Dad is at the grindstone a sharpenin up his metal,
And I Ve me ancient pants on we 're butchin hogs
to-day !

For I was tired of the country,
And sick of the city's sin ;
So I sat on the wharf, and wond'ring, watched
The floe ice floating in.

His was a chance to make his grave
'Neath the storied altar high ;
But his heart was changed to a boy's again,
When they whispered that he must die.

He never swears, he never smokes,
He looks not on the wine ;
He never laughs, he never jokes,
He goes to bed at nine ;

The bushes and the trees
Spread the old brown blanket;
Snugly round their knees
Is the old brown blanket;

To home and Country shouts we raise I
For Home and Land to Heaven we cry !
In Home and Country let us live
For Home and Land we stand to die !

The owner of millions, he smiling stood
And gazed through the window in laughing mood ;
And a lad came in with a frightened face,
And stood at his feet with a boyish grace ;

I thing I'm dying, Tom, old boy; I'm all broke up
to-night ; I feel so sick at heart I wish I 'd never see the light ;
For I 've done wrong, yes, very wrong ; I 've thrown
myself aw r ay Oh ! if the old folks heard it, Tom, I wonder what they 'd say !

' Mammy, mammy !' the wee girl cried ;
The mother dropped a plate
And hurried o'er the farmyard wide,

There is silence in the parlor, and the pretty girl sits
And her coolness fills our hero with an awful kind of
pain ;
But his spirit quite collapses when she says in tones
that kill,
' My mother does 'nt like you, and you must n't come

Methinks that I can hear them churning
Outside the kitchen cellar way ;
Methinks I see the old yard turning
A perfumed green this splendid day.

She bears a basket on her arm,
Athrough the crowded street ;
The sidewalk feels a soft caress
Beneath her busy feet.

I never saw my love ; but I
Can fancy that she 's wond'rous fair :
With splendid eyes, that flash and shine
Beneath her wealth of lustrous hair.

Robert Kirkland Kernighan Biography

Robert Kirkland Kernighan (25 April 1854 – 3 November 1926) was a Canadian poet, journalist, and farmer. Born at Rushdale Farm, Rockton, Ontario, he apprenticed as a journalist on the Hamilton Spectator staff. In about 1876 the paper printed his first poetry. Kernighan lived in Western Canada for a while working for the Winnipeg Sun. Short thereafter returned to Hamilton to farm. He worked exclusively for many years for the Toronto Telegram writing a column titled, "The Khan's Corner." The nickname "Khan" was given to him by a young French-Canadian woman who could not pronounce his name. It was the opinion of Sir John A. Macdonald that if Canada ever went to war the soldiers would march to battle singing Kernighan's poem "The Men of the Northern Zone". In an article reviewing personalities from Hamilton history, Kernighan was praised as a "...poet and humourist with a rare gift of sympathetic portrayal of rural Canadian life." The Khan appeared in Toronto at old Albert Hall on October 20th, 1885 to a packed house. Toronto's Daily Amusement Record reported: "Albert Hall was jammed to the door, and many had to stand. This, more than anything else, is a substantial compliment to Mr. Kernighan, as the people of Toronto are not in the habit of throwing away fifty-cent pieces 'just for fun'." Kernighan's lecture was attended by notable local personalities who were described in the Amusement Record as the "Fourth Estate". The reviewer concluded: "The lecture was a masterpiece of native eloquence, humour and pathos, and the only fault found was that it was too short." "The Khan's Canticles", a hardcover book containing his poetry, was published by the Hamilton Spectator Printing Company in 1896. "The Khan's Book of Verse" was published in 1925.)

The Best Poem Of Robert Kirkland Kernighan

Gentle Spring

I sit with my feet in the oven,

My nose close up to the pipe ;
I 'm as jokey as any spring robin,

That 's fresh and is rather unripe.

I still wear my ear muffs and cap ;

I still to my overcoat cling ;
Still I feel it my duty to sit

And warble of ; Beautiful Spring.

But my warble is husky and harsh,
And my melody suffers from cracks ;

For the froglets down there in the marsh
Are shivering with humps on their backs.

Of my country I 'm awfully proud ;

So I close to the cooking stove cling,
And lilt, like a dog in a shroud,

Of the coming of Beautiful Spring.

The neck of old winter's giraffic,

It reaches far out into May ;
O, come with your sonnet seraphic,

Sweet robin, come early, I pray.

But be sure and put overshoes on ;

Bring an overcoat over your wing,
And a bag full of mufflers and socks,

When you herald Ethereal Spring.

But still will I manfully sit,

While I close to the cooking stove cling ;
In the voice of a frosted tomtit

Will I sing of Ethereal Spring.

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