Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE JAY WALKER, by BERTON BRALEY



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THE JAY WALKER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: He's a target for warnings and slogans of censure
Last Line: You've got to applaud at his nerve just the same!
Subject(s): Jaywalking


He's a target for warnings and slogans of censure,
And death-heads on placards are grinning at him.
And yet, in a way, he's a Knight of Adventure
Who jousts through the traffic with truculent vim.
To motor-car dragons he flings his defiance,
Gives battle on foot to the ogres on wheels,
And juggernaut trucks are the up-to-date giants
Whose charges he foils with a fleet pair of heels!

Jay Walker! Jay Walker!
Blithe motor-car stalker;
Who daily goes gayly to dally with chance,
All traffic rules flouting.
A fool? Beyond doubting!
Yet somehow a fool with a tang of Romance!

Denied the brave hazards his ancestors battled,
His pulses still beat with their blood that is red.
Insouciant and valiant, unawed and unrattled,
His spirit on danger demands to be fed.
Life's vapid when lacking some valorous saucing,
The Jay Walker finds it in traffic, and scorns
To "wait for the lights" or to "cross at the crossing."
He sneers at the signals and ha ha's the horns!

Jay Walker! Jay Walker!
Let whistle and squawker
And tooter and siren rip gashes in air;
He goes where he chooses
And stoutly refuses
To let any motorist give him a scare!

A huge landaulette with a footman and chauffeur
Is no more to him than a five-year-old Ford.
Part grayhound, part fox, and part squirrel and gopher,
He darts where the thickest of traffic is poured.
He sidesteps and wriggles, he leaps and he lunges,
He risks his fool neck making drivers grow gray.
And yet you can't help being thrilled by his plunges
As boldly he jay-walks along on his way!

Jay Walker! Jay Walker!
The "safety-first" balker;
He's playing a senseless and dangerous game,
But though disapproving
His method of moving
You've got to applaud at his nerve just the same!





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