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Opinion: Poetry Submissions

The following poems, submitted because April is National Poetry Month, are from Mount Vernon resident John J. Finerty.

ABBA

From the land of smorgasbord

Where they give the peace award

ABBA by the world adored

Lifted once a joyous chord

If you’re of a certain age

Let your memory engage

Close your eyes and see a stage

Super Trooper all the rage

Flaring trousers, platform shoes

Scarves in blue and yellow hues,

Sold-out concert, rave reviews

Hits keep coming, never lose

Chiquitita, Waterloo,

Knowing Me, Knowing You,

I have a Dream, Voulez-Vous

Dancing Queen, Fernando, too

What’s the cost of such success

Money can’t buy happiness

Did we hear the SOS?

Harmony succumbs to stress

ABBA, we’d still love to see ‘ya

Head the cast of Mamma Mia

Do a promo for Ikea

(OK, that’s a bad idea)

— John J. Finerty, Jr.

Anna-Frida Lyngsgad, Bjorn Ulhaeus, Benny Andersson, and Agneth Faltskog: ABBA, was by far the most successful popular music act to come from Scandinavia, having sold over 300 million records. The hit Broad-way play Mamma Mia is based on music composed by Andersson and Ulhaeus.

Black Bart

Where trails are all wooded, the highwayman hooded

Hotfoots it away with the cargo

Undaunted by lawmen so vaunted who’ve sought him

And jauntily taunting Well Fargo

Black Bart, it is he, with such artistry

Discretion and daring combining

So none do suspect that gent circumspect

Who hints he has interests in mining

But out on the road from the old mother lode

Where curvature slows the approaches

A sack for a mask (de rigueur for the task)

He patiently waits for the coaches

Our vigilant picket now slips from the thicket

His ticket a gift for the stealthy

To upend at the bend the endeavors of men

And the treasures that render them wealthy

His mode operandi, a shotgun held handy

But always the gentleman bandit

His word to the driver, "Just be a survivor

You're holding the gold, now unhand it"

That old oaken box with the unbroken locks

He’ll claim with his aim uncontested

And then without fail, he’ll hightail from the trail

While leaving the mail unmolested

He never engages in violent rages

Or actions ungracious or curses

The battle he wages with lumbering stages

But never with passengers' purses

It’s twenty eight times this gentleman’s crimes

Enliven the highjacking season

In rhymes that he signs and they find left behind

He opines that revenge is the reason

Two hardy detectives, relentless effectives

Meticulous, not to say artless

Ensnare through a hankie that Illinois Yankee

And render the highways Blackbartless

Upon his release did he flee to the East

The chronicles cease soon thereafter

Yet echoes the phrase that conveyed his malaise

"It's only Wells Fargo I'm after"

— John J. Finerty, Jr

"Black Bart" was the nom de guerre of one Charles Boles or Bolton, an infamous stage coach robber who preyed exclusively on Wells Fargo shipments in the gold fields of northern California from 1875 to 1883. Known for his gentlemanly bearing, he would occasionally leave poetic messages at the scene of the crime. When two Wells Fargo detectives traced a handkerchief he had dropped during one of his robberies back to his San Francisco laundry, the elusive “road agent” was finally apprehended, and served five years in prison.

Horsefly, B.C

I once found a town in an atlas at Crown

Marked down, which I did then, of course, buy

The village was blessed with the name of a pest

Perhaps you have guessed, it was Horsefly.

It's up in B.C., where mooses run free

Far from the sea where the Norse lie

Still every good Viking would find to his liking

The hiking and biking in Horsefly

So here’s your maneuver, go first to Vancouver

And if you’ve resources, of course, fly

Then grab your valise, and rent a Caprice

Go north by northeast, up to Horsefly

There’ve lots of resorts, and there’s all sort of sports

And some nice tennis courts, you’ll of course try

The fishing will lure you, but let me assure you

Of night life they'll cure you, in Horsefly

Some spouses I know, say life is too slow

And they would of boredom, of course, die

If they had to spend, more than a weekend

And beavers befriend, up in Horsefly

Knowing my wife, who likes the night life

And rather than be a divorced guy

‘Though I’m now retired, I have not aspired

An address to acquire in Horsefly

— John Finerty Jr.

The village of Horsefly, in the Cariboo Region of British Columbia, is a small community appealing to tourists with a variety of outdoor pursuits. A “Welcome to Horsefly” road sign at the entrance to the village features a stylized depiction of the town’s namesake.