When Bobby was a little child
His intellect was weakish,
And all his deeds, to put it mild,
Were just a trifle sneakish.
He preached unto his dad all day
About his little brother,
And spied upon his sister May,
And went and told his mother.
Thus by the time he entered school
It quite became his passion
To sneak and spie and fib and lie
In every form and fashion.
His playmates in the schoolyard he
Would coax to some offence,
Then tell the teacher secretly
To shine at their expense.
His ever act confirmed the truth
That Nature had bestowed
The slimy brains upon a youth
Intended for a toad.
For when his ‘prentice days began
He bred the same dissension
For snealing on each fellow man
Engrossed his whole attention.
Till Bobby’s ‘prentice time was wrecked
Through liberties abused,
And men who valued self-respect
To work with him refused.
Now, Bobby was a strapping weight,
And strong in bone and sinew;
He sought a job wherein he might
His dirty work continue.
A sort of job where brass and bone
Are qualities admired,
Where belly-crawling graft alone
Makes manhood unrequired.
Performing filthy duties that
The most abandoned swine
Disgustingly would boggle at
And gruntingly decline.
And Bobby had not far to seek:
It soon became his fate
To pry and spy and lie and sneak –
As P.C. Ninety-Eight.
John Smith Clarke (1885 – 1959) was a lion-tamer, gun-runner, historian, MP for Glasgow Maryhill, cured Lenin’s dog of an illness, editor of The Worker, leader of the Socialist Labour Party as well as a poet.
Militants on the Clydeside declared him to be ‘the Poet Laureate of the revolution’, whilst a police office said that anyone who wrote poetry like that deserved to be shot. Clarke was delighted with both comments.