Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TAKE IT FROM FATHER, by BERTON BRALEY



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TAKE IT FROM FATHER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Son, I haven't much to tell you; I have
Last Line: Don't you ever try to argue with a cop!
Subject(s): Fathers & Sons


Son, I haven't much to tell you; I have learned that good advice is
A prescription which but few of us will take,
And my long and windy warnings might forsake you in a crisis,
And besides, you've got your own career to make;
I have just this bit of counsel which may help you go the distance
With no useless or unnecessary stop,
As you mingle in the mêlée of the struggle for existence
Don't you ever try to argue with a cop!

There are plenty of adventures which a man may get away with,
Though the world proclaim them hopeless from the start:
You may find a whirring buzz-saw is a pretty thing to play with,
And at times a Bengal tiger has a heart;
Youth is always doing wonders and forevermore achieving
While the sages sneer and prophesy a flop,
But there are some final limits—it's a fact that's worth
believing—
So don't ever try to argue with a cop!

You might swim the whirlpool rapids, you might butt your way through granite,
You might set the Mississippi all aflame;
But debating with policemen—take a tip from Dad, and can it—
For the issue is infallibly the same.
You are licked before you've started with your futile protestations,
So just do the way he tells you, on the hop,
And unless you have a fancy for a jail's accommodations
Don't you ever try to argue with a cop!





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