Inscription for Paddy’s Tomb


(The fifteenth of the Black Hole Ballads)

THE scrawl’s on the board,
And we are still bored;
Mathematics aye will
Our happiness chill.
But cosy and quiet
And free from all riot
Deep deep in his grave
He needs not even shave.
Rest here! Yearned-for rest
Was what he loved best
‘Twixt morning and eve;
No numbers would leave
His poor tortured brain,
Benumbed with pain.
His scholars would smile
And say “In a while
“He’ll find some excuse
“From his class to break loose”.
And when he did go
Muttered “We told you so!”
The fire it was warm
And he thought it no harm
To sit ‘mid the ripe
Fragrance of pipe;
Our maths did not matter
So he thought it batter
To sit amid fragrance
And wink at the flagrance
Shown by the vagrants
Composing his class.
Alas, and alas!
Out with his pipe,
Upon feet to wipe
The blackboard for tripe.
No tale do we tell
Of labour! ‘Tis well!
But this thing we say
Contented he’ll stay,
Now work is away.
And for worser or best
He’s enjoying his rest!

Sept., 1927