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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 8 (November 1, 1938)

The Pipes Of Paddy O'Pan

page 34

The Pipes Of Paddy O'Pan

Tale of a Tailor.

There's gold in the sun
That powders the earth,
There's din in the trees
Where the sparrows make mirth.
The thrush is a lad
As he struts on the lawn
In the bright speckled vest
He has got out of pawn
From old Uncle Winter,
Who held it “pro tem,”
The starling's new suit
Is a glistening gem
Of ruffles and satin,
And feathered brocade,
A very fine elegant costume indade.
In fact all the costumes are splendid and gran'
And made by a tailor called Paddy O'Pan.

Midsummer Madness.

And this same Paddy O'Pan is playing the very droth with the respectable feelin's an' instincts of fine staid sedate gintlemen with interests in the city an' families in the suburbs, an' bright new rolled umbrellas an'all. This O'Pan is a disrespectable lad who tootles on a pipe an' takes no pleasure in the rightness of breeches. At the notch of the year when the sun is scoured till it shines like the sitting end of a new copper kettle, this O'Pan presumes a mission to reform everyone who acts unnatural like sleeping in beds and wearing underwear and houses. Only yesterday morning did I see with my own eyes a fine respectable gintleman in a come-to-glory collar, an' all, throw down his beautiful bun hat an' jump on it. An' I did hear that his office chair was empty of him all day an' he did return home with twigs in his hair when the moon was runnin' from the milkman.

The Wide O'Pan Spaces.

This O'Pan bears no respict for the dignity of hard-won authority an' the rulin' classes. He pops up unpropitious an' tootles trills of timptation on his persuasious pipes. Only this morning did I find him with his hoofs on my desk flipping a forefinger through my papers.

“Dear sir,” he chanted contemptuous: “Yours uv the thirtieth ult. t' hand an' in reply we beg to request—.”

“Blither!” roared this O'Pan tossing the papers to the ceilin' from whince they fluttered down as the petals of water lilies. I swear it on am impty bottle.

“You beg to request!” bawled O'Pan. “You beg! You request! When the whole elegant world is here to be took. Are ye a man or a forked gate post? Does the bee beg? Does he request?
“The thrush is a lad as he struts on the lawn.”

“The thrush is a lad as he struts on the lawn.”

Does he sind a letter b' post to the Primulus, sayin', ‘Dear Madam, I beg to request that b' return y' will deliver f.o.b., c.o.d., an' p.d.q., ten noggins of nectar an' a peck uv pollen at the regular market price, plus clearin' charges?' Not by a pig's pink ear, he don't,” shouted this O'Pan. “He jest straps on his swag-bags, picks up his scrapers an' takes off on a smash-an'-grab raid. It's nectar or nothing. You, with y' beggin' and scrapin'—y'r buyin' an' sellin'—y'r lead-headed hair-pins an' two-way pot lids! Commerce, is it? Have y'r ever bought or sold anything worthy of y'r cunning? Have y'r ever bought a sunset with its crimson centre, and the magenta edgin's of it, an' its saffron trimmings? Have ye ever chaffered for rivers with their fine keenin' songs that mind ye of the most comfortin' wake that ever cheered sorrow? Have ye got tinned mountain breezes in y'r store or bottled bellbirds' songs? Have ye bought an' sold th' spirit of the open that is as quick to elude ye page 35 as the glint on a trout's fin? Have ye traded the sad joyfulness of a night-wind in pines, or the stomp of a wee rabbit's foot? Have ye a willow shoot in stock that's baby-green on the stem an' pinkin' like a calf's nose at the end? Can ye lay y'r hands on a bale uv cumulus cloud that's like soapsuds from the sky-god's bath tub? Or fan-tails' eggs like starched bubbles, or gully stones snug-wrapped in moss? Jumpin' hobgoblins! Ye should take shame on y'self, a big fine strappin' fellow like ye are t' be skidoodlin' about with bales an' barrels of worthless jim-cracks that wouldn't fetch a dead leaf at a pixies' auction. Now I could show ye a thing or two out there.” He nods towards the hills beyond the gas works. “There's things out there that'd wake ye into thrue dreams so ye'd feel shame on y'r breeks an y'r hair parted in th' middle. There's things out there that's free. Y' couldn't buy them with all the gold that ever drove a man to expinsive misery an' iligant dyspepsy. An' they're—all—free,” whispers this O'Pan hoarsely. “But ye must escape—flee from the blessings uv civilisation under which ye groan.”
“I'm not in! I'll never be in again.”

“I'm not in! I'll never be in again.”

A Free-for-all.

Escape From The Grip Uv The World'S Mad Ways,
Th' Wheedling Word, The Cranky Craze
For Things The Gods Who Made The Earth
Left Out As Havin' Nought Of Worth,
Shake Off Th' Chains That Ye Endure,
The Wiffling Wants That Timpt An' Lure,
Th' Gilded Baubles Of Th' Mart,
That Sap Y'R Soul An' Break Y'R Heart—
That Dazzle So Ye Cannot See
That All The Worthwhile Things Are Free.
The Sun-Brown Vagrant In His Rags
Who On The Rutted Pathway Lags,
An' Lifts His Face Towards A Star,
Is Happier, Freer, Than Ye Are.
His Swigs A Stoup Of Earthy Ale,
That's Brewed From Sun And Autumn Gale,
An' Fervid Scent Of Reed An' Grass
That Whisper To The Winds That Pass,
Th' Tui's Rapt Impetuous Call,
Th' Shoutin' Of The Waterfall,
The Keening Of The Bush At Night,
Th' Weaving Hawk's Unhurried Flight,
The Birth O' Day When Mists Unfold
An' Turn The Dew To Beads Of Gold.
Th' Age'd River's Bouldered Bed,
Dappled With Blue An' Brown An' Red.
Such Are Th' Goods Ye Cannot Fake,
An' All Are Free For Ye T' Take,
Provided Y' Will Lift Y'R Gaze
From Jimcrack Things That Steal Y'R

Paying the Piper.

Then this Paddy O'Pan with a glint in his eye that was as careless as the sun dancing on a brown wet stone, unburdened his pipes of a trillsome message that set my toes to frolicking in my socks. And while this O'Pan took liberties with the respectable office air the walls dissolved away; but I managed to kick the office chair and shout “I'm not in. I'll never be in again,” through the telephone before it, too, went west.

Three days it was and the directors counted the petty cash and had the harbour dragged. I told them it was summer and a man had called. It seemed a sound explanation to me. But they said I'd better take a complete rest for twenty years or so. I think I'll see this Paddy O'Pan about going into partnership.

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