The Villain Biff Smith


(The twelfth of the Black Hole Ballads)
(With apologies to Longfellow)

UNDER a spreading Panama
That villain Smithy sits;
Biff Smith! a might man is he
With large and sinewy mitts;
And the rolling of his mighty snores
Must rend his nose in bits.

His hair is fair, and smooth, and long;
His face is like the sun;
Brow always wet with lazy sweat,
His fat face like a bun.
Me looks the whole world in the face
For no-one has he done.

Week in, week out, from morn till eve,
We hear him puff and blow;
We could hear him swing his heavy feet
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton knocking the red mould down
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open gate;
They stand and gape at Biffy’s hat,
And then as us sedate;
Were Biffy to go for them I can
Not tell their likely fate.

He comes on weekdays to the school,
And sits out in the yard;
He hears each student slow translate,
But does not help one word;
And then at last his great tirade
Leaves minds all burned and scarred.

His voice would sound sweeter to us
If singing in Paradise;
But somehow or other he claims respect
In all us fellows’ eyes;
For outward hard, he’s inward soft,
And oh, so very wise.

Sitting, walking, boozing,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some French begin,
And someone touching toes;
And home he goes in his mighty boots
To earn a night’s repose.

July, 1927