Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Webpages in Archive
Volume 6225
The Many Worlds of
Edgar Rice Burroughs Signature

See Poems I in ERBzine 0003

Burroughs occasionally tried his hand at writing verse.
Two serious poems, one written when the war was raging in Europe and
the other after the United States' entry into the war, are titled
"Skunk in Defeat" and "A War-Job Striker to a Soldier."
These and the following, were contained in Ed's Poetry Scrapbook

"Skunk in Defeat,"
This poem that was composed on January 15, 1941,
proceeds without restraint to describe how revolting the Nazis are:

The skunk came out and looked about and waved his gorgeous tail;
The people ran, each ev'ry man; the bravest there did quail.

The skunk would strut and wave his butt; a chesty skunk was he.
He looked around that well known ground to see what he might see;

Then from on high up in the sky there came a horrid stench;
The skunk did quail and lower his tail, and e'en his face did blench

He held his nose with little toes and ran away from there,
For who could hope to fairly cope the stink that filled the air?

He beat it then to hidden den to lay him down and die;
And what, you think, that awful stink? 'Twas a Nazi flying by!

Ed's ardent patriotism and his antiunion sentiments were revealed in the poem
"A War-Job Striker To A Soldier."
The worker's complaints about the long hours,
and how tired he is at night are contrasted ironically with the soldier's fate.
The worker grumbles:

I have to pay a lot of silly taxes
So guys like you can fight the bally Axis.
You, soldier, only have to die.

In the four-stanza poem, the last line sounds a dirgelike refrain,
with the soldier's death made inevitable:
I have to work for all the coin I get.
My gas and hootch are rationed, yet
I do not ever grouse, not I.
If things aren't run exactly as I like,
Believe me, brother, I can always strike.
You, soldier, only have to die.

Hard as my lot, my friend, I feel, alas,
That you are just a . . . silly ass
Who must have let his chance pass by
To get a cushy job with lots of jack
Instead of one from which you won't come back;
For, soldier, you are going to die.

But if, perchance, you should survive the strife
And come back to your kiddies and your wife,
I promise you that I will try
To force you in the union that I'll run;
And then your one regret will be, my son,
That in the fray you did not die.

  In another poem, of a lighter nature, "Mud in your Ai, or May 1940,"
he makes an amusing attack on the supposedly idyllic Hawaiian setting.
The poem was sent to Hulbert on the twenty-fourth;
it contained some footnotes defining Hawaiian words
mauka, meaning inland, toward the mountains; makai, toward the sea; and
buffo, "a repulsive toad that swarms over our yard nights."1038

On the beach at Lanikai, lovely, lovely Lanikai,
Where the mud comes down from mauka, from mauka to makai;
Where the piebald fishes ply through the mud at Lanikai;
There's where I love to be beside the yellow sea
With my water-wings and slicker, and umbrella over me.
Where the liquid sunshine tumbles and the thunder rumbles, rumbles
And a cloud-burst is a sun-shower on the beach at Lanikai.
I love the buffo buffo and the rain upon my roof, oh!
And the mildew and the rust and the typhoon's throaty gust
And the roaches, and the ants that have crawled into my pants.
I love it! oh, I love it! I cannot tell a lie,
From Kalama and Kailua all the way to Lanikai.

Once there was a man who thought himself quite grand
There was a dagger in his belt and pistol in each hand
But when he saw a poor blind mole
He climbed far up a very tall pole

But before he reached halfway to the top
One of his pistols he had to drop.
But at the bottom it hit the pole
And going off shot dead the mole.

Then this grand man came sliding down.
And carried the mole in to the town
And told the people (the wicked knave)
That he was good, and strong, and brave

He told them too he killed the mole,
But never mentioned climbing the pole.

At the bottom of the page beneath the poem Ed illustrates the remainder of the incident.
The buildings of the town are outlined in a skillful perspective
to provide a background for the cowboy who now stands,
mustaches pointed, with a gun dangling from his right hand.
His left hand, held out, also clutches a gun, and extending from it is a stick
on which the dead mole is draped.
A careful observer, Ed missed no details.
In both drawings of the man, the dagger is shown at his waist,
and his blouse, pants, and long heavy boots are clearly sketched.

Ed addressed another letter to "My Highly Educated Brothers"
and drew comical cartoons representing George and Harry, one on each side of the page.
They are shown with top hats, canes, and formal coats.
One has an enormous handlebar mustache while the other wears both mustache and beard.
Ed has printed in large letters "89 S.S.S.!"
The S's stand for "Senior."
His original poem then follows:

89 S.S.S.!
In eight teen hundred and eighty nine
For my brothers to be seniors it will be time
And then you bet their hats will shine,
In eight teen hundred and eighty nine.

From September eighty seven to September eighty eight,
Will be the first and last of their Junior date.

On the other side of the page he offers a poem titled "Chicago":

The snow is falling thick and fast
In Chicago
And I hope every gust will be the last
In Chicago
And it falls on every side walk
In Chicago
And the lazy folks talk
In Chicago
How tired they will get
Before it will melt,
In Chicago.

Poems which may not have been contained in letters to his brothers
include one about a certain Mr. Roach who "will be the next mayor of Chicago."
Ed ends by stating, "And when Roach has the key/No more red flags will you see."
He goes on to write
"Dear Reader if you want to be killed just turn over
and read what is on the back of this paper."
He has composed a poem titled "Horses and Dogs":

Horses are large
And horses are small
Some horses kick
But hurrah for them all.

Dogs are good,
And dogs are bad.
Dogs are solom,
And dogs are sad,

Some dogs snarl,
And some dogs bite,
Some dogs are play full
And their all right.

CHAPTER 2  1132

Lewis Swester [sic] is in town today on his way to Omaha with 14 car loads of cattle
which Swester, Burroughs and Sparks loaded at American Falls yesterday.
Mr. Swester says that the cattle are in fine condition this year and that prices are keeping up in good shape.

  The "Local Brevities," as compiled by Dale R. Broadhurst, include numerous other publicity items about the store:

You can rent a camera by the day or week at E. R. Burroughs'. (August 10, 1898)
E. R. Burroughs, the stationer, spent a couple of days in Salt Lake on business this week. (August 27, 1898)
They are Dead Right! Junius Brutus 10c Havanna cigars, Burroughs sells them. (August 27, 1898)

Many of these were repeated; the last one, according to Broadhurst, was dated October 22, 1898.
  Quoted from a letter to Herbert Hungerford, editor, The American News Trade Journal, February 12, 1921. This recollection was published in the Trade Journal of April 1921, within a long article which offered suggestions to the bookdealers.
  Kipling's poem and the parody, fastened together in ERB's scrapbook, were evidently printed in the same newspaper, probably the Pocatello Tribune, at the same time, to enable the reader to make comparisons. The complete poems follow:
(The following clever lines, in imitation of a recent very celebrated_ poem, are the composition of one of the well-known young men of Pocatello. Ed.)

[A Parody]
Take up the white man's burden,
The yoke ye sought to spurn;
And spurn your father's customs;
Your fathers' temples burn.
0 learn to love and honor
The white God's favored sons.
Forget the white-haired fathers
Fast lashed to mouths of guns.

Take up the white man's burden,
Your own was not enough;
He'll burden you with taxes;
But though the road be rough,
"To him who waits," remember,
"All things in time shall come;"
The white man's culture brings you
The white man's God, and rum.

Take up the white man's burden;
'Tis called "protectorate,"
And lift your voice in thanks to
The God ye well might hate.
Forget your exiled brothers;
Forget your boundless lands;
In acres that they gave for
The blood upon their hands.

Take up the white man's burden;
Poor simple folk and free;
Abandon nature's freedom,
Embrace his "Liberty;"
The goddess of the white man
Who makes you free in name;
But in her heart your color
Will brand you "slave" the same
Take up the white man's burden;
And learn by what you've lost
That white men called as counsel
Means black man pays the cost.
Your right to fertile acres
Their priests will teach you well
Have gained your fathers only
A desert claim in hell.

Take up the white man's burden;
Take it because you must;
Burden of making money;
Burden of greed and lust;
Burden of points strategic,
Burden of harbors deep,
Burden of greatest burdens;
Burden, these burdens to keep.

Take up the white man's burden;
His papers take, and read:
'Tis all for your salvation;
The white man knows not greed.
For you he's spending millions
To him, more than his God
To make you learned, and happy,
Enlightened, cultured, broad.

Take up the white man's burden
While he makes laws for you,
That show your fathers taught you
The things you should not do.
Cast off your foolish feathers,
Your necklace, beads, and paint;
Buy raiment for your mother,
Lest fairer sisters faint.

Take up the white man's burden;
Go learn to wear his clothes;
You may look like the devil;
But nobody cares who knows.
Peruse a work of Darwin
Thank gods that you're alive
And learn the reason clearly:
The fittest alone survive.
Edgar Rice Burroughs

by Rudyard Kipling
Take up the White Man's burden
Send forth the best ye breed
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain,
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden
The savage wars of peace
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch Sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hope to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go make them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:
"Why brought ye us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden
Ye dare not stoop to less
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your Gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden
Have done with childish days
The lightly proffered laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold, edged with dearbought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers


The family booklet contains a variety of cartoons and poems by Ed.
One, according to Evelyn McKenzie, was written before she was born:
And if it is a Girl, sir
I'll dress her up in blue
And send her out to Saltonstall,
To coach the freshman crew.

This and other references to Yale are of course because George and Harry attended Yale and were oarsmen on the crew.
  Another poem and series of cartoons concerning the Idaho days tell the story of Waupi,
a small town where all the miners and cowboys went for a good time:

Bye Baby, bye, bye;
Papa's gone to Waupi
He'll get a skate
And come home late;
Mamma'll meet him at the gate;
To run a flat-iron at his pate;
Bye Baby, bye, bye.

To "get a skate" means to be liquored up.
A cartoon showing Grandfather (Major George Burroughs, Sr.)
on a bicycle refers to the occasion when he did purchase a bicycle
with resulting humorous comment by the family.
Ed's poem is beneath his cartoon:
Words fail us at a sight like this;
No verses come to save
When we behold Grandfather
Scorching down the pave.

In a poem and cartoon dated September 12, 1895,
Ed jokes about Grand-father's change in attitude toward boats. Presumably

Concerning Ed's use of the names Brady and Conner in his fairy tale, one can speculate as to whether they referred to actual persons whom he knew in the Minidoka area or elsewhere. His poking fun at the Irish may have been a type of private joke that related to individuals who were closely associated with him. There appears to be no other reason why he should choose such names as Cooney, Brady, and Conner.
Ed's facility in concocting names that were unusually rhythmic, colorful, or comical, which was strikingly evident in his later works, both the Tarzan and other worlds series, is noticeable at this early period. He liked to experiment with odd syllables and combine them to produce strange words that sounded realistic in the bizarre settings he created. He had a keen ear for original phonetic combinations.
The complete poem, as contained on pages 63 65 of "Minidoka 937th Earl. . . ," follows:


The sad sea waves rolled in upon
The Oyster's feather bed.
"We'd like to can the mush faced man
"Who's asking what we said.
"We yearn to serve him in a jug
"Or frizzled on a red hot mug,
"Or fried in grease instead.
"He is too soft for any good
"Excepting, as a breakfast food,
"The Sea Cow may be fed."

The Sea Cow oped her lanthern jaw
And guppled in her spacious maw
The man, without ado.
She fraggled out his squirming hair
And gapped his teeth beside her there.
She left his bones all raw and bare,
But, 0, it made her blue.
It made her blue to glean and think,
This sploshy man, so gue and pink,
Was of the Corbi's crew.

The Corbi, that ill fated craft,
By noxious, noisome breezes waft,
As loaded down with dead and daft
She cruises round for blood.
Her master sabers all who come
Except the lordly Borogum,
Who dines and wines on mud.
The ghersters lark aboard this bark,
With hingling skulls and eyeballs stark,
The Slaves of Great God Crud.

The Knockers god, and those who wail
His flaming eye and flabble tail
Pursue them round the world.
He shageth him of syphon head
Puts hunch backed bugs upon his bed,
As wailing wails he fills with dread
The hushful one and surled.
With sink-hole eye he passes by
And in his wake they writhe and die,
All withered, choked, and curled.

And so the lordly Borogum
With Crud and hearsesome ghersters come
All down the center aisle,
And pick their bones as white as stone
Till every snarling skull, with moans,
And ghastly groans, each sin atones.
Then all shoot craps awhile,
Until a merry little crap
Gets sore at being that, mayhap,
And googers with a smile.


  The poem was printed on February 3, 1914. Ed, after his yearning appeal for "A Line-O'-Type or Two," his Chicago "Wailing Place" and one he evidently missed in California, was offered reassurance, presumably, in Taylor's title "Nay, It Hath Not Gone." Beneath his original poem, following an asterisk, Ed had typed "Help!"
The second San Diego poem, again humorously critical of Southern California, was printed in "A Line-O'-Type or Two" on March 30, 1914, and titled The Climate and the View

When one first comes to southern Cal
And gloms the cloudless blue,
One swallows nearly everything
While listening to the natives sing
The Climate and the View.

And when one's robbed and bilked and bled
And flimflammed through and through,
The native tries to ease the pain
By bleating loudly and amain
Of Climate and the View.

The lean and hungry realty man
Adheres to one like glue,
He has not eaten for a year,
Yet still one hears him bravely cheer
The Climate and the View.

And when one comes to leave for home,
And bids the south adieu,
One must admit, would one be fair,
That Sunny Southern Cal is there
With Climate and with View.*

Normal Bean *

* And nothing else.

  These two poems, printed in "A Line-O'-Type or Two," are without any author's name and are titled "Musca Domestica" and "The Martyrs." The first one, composed of four eight-line stanzas and a final rhyming couplet, presents a vivid picture of the disgusting fly:

Baby bye, here's a fly.
We will watch him, you and I;
Lest he fall in Baby's mouth,
Bringing germs from north and south.

The fly's filthy habits are described: "I believe with six such legs/ You or I could walk on eggs;/ But he'd rather crawl on meat/ With his microbe-laden feet." At the end of the poem the fly is about to be swatted. "Musca Domestica" is marked beneath its title "Republished by request" and asterisked "Of the International Anti-Fly Association."
"The Martyrs," printed October 23, 1909, is a humorous poem criticizing the C. B. and Q. Railroad. Those who wait "in the shed of the C.B. and Q." are the real martyrs:

Its menagerie air is the natural lair
Of the germs of pneumonia and grip,
Of pellagra, bronchitis, and ev'ry old 'itis,
Of peevishness, pimples, and pip.
They swarm on the people who come to this place.
Which smells like a gym or a zoo
The martyrs who wait for the ump-umpty-eight
In the shed of the C., B and Q.

Whether this poem, consisting of three eight-line stanzas, and the "Musca Domestica" were written by Ed is not known; they may have been the work of B.L.T. The tone and language are typical of Ed's verse. The fact that they were saved in his scrapbook may or may not be of significance.
Other poems saved in his scrapbook, also from "The Line" but undated, are titled "The Clark Street Cable," described as the ballad of "the guy with the fishy eye" whose work is "to watch the beautiful botch/ That's known as the Clark Street rope"; a poem titled "Decorative Therapeutics" that tells of the effects of environment upon health the importance of choosing furniture and bric-a-brac properly; and a short poem titled "Be Careful How You Say It," concerning the pronunciation of "volplane."
The poem "Hooks for Men!" by Normal Bean was printed, but column and date are unknown. It consists of five four-line stanzas and describes how both he and the dog have been dispossessed, with the two babies, "two tiny towheads" taking over all the belongings and closets. Of course he admits that he doesn't mind this "servitude."
A poem titled "A Warning and a Plea to Beachey," dated November 20, 1913, was written by Ed at Coronado. A typed copy is saved in his scrapbook; it is not known whether the poem was printed. Ed has noted on one side: "Written after watching Lincoln Beachey practicing for several days before he looped the first loop looped in an aeroplane." Hulbert Burroughs has recalled the incident in a note to Stanley Vinson, September 20, 1965, explaining that in this California period, although he was only four years old, he could remember having seen "the earlier flier Lincoln Beachey make what we called then a loop-the-loop... .
Ed's poem protests about the fact that he can't write and that he finds himself standing at the back window all day, "boob-like," watching Beachey circle over the house:

My labors for my daily bread
Have lately gone to pot.
My children clamor to be fed;
But I can hear them not.
Half bathed, the baby squawks amain,
Exposed the while to croup,
While friend wife hugs the window pane
To glom the loop-the-loop.

My spacing bar and key board beck;
My pants are out behind;
My editors weep on my neck;
But I am deaf and blind.

At the end Ed implores Beachey to "go otherwhere" and says, "Or, Beachey, list! On bended knee/ A supplicating goop/ Beats his bald pate and begs of thee;/ For Pete's sake loop-the-loop,/ And then beat it."
A poem addressed to B.L.T., dated June 11, 1914, a typed carbon, humorously develops the idea that to make "The Line," one has to write poetry, not prose: "Though worlds may pause in cosmic flight/ To hear what I would say; You let them keep on pausing as/ You turn my prose away"; in closing Ed writes, "So I am now constrained to think/ The prose stuff that I wrote/ Was sadly utilized by you/ As brain food for the goat." The poem is signed Normal Bean; Ed's protest indicated that he had been sending prose to "The Wake," but no copies of this have been found.
A lengthy poem of eleven four-line stanzas, in typed form, signed Normal Bean, again offers a defense of sports; its setting is in heaven with St. Peter confronting a would-be entrant. St. Peter asks the "old party with saucy side-whiskers" what he has done to deserve a place in heaven. The old man replies:

I have ruined a hundred good fight games
Besides closing a race track or two,
And forced the unwilling ten thousands
To do as I liked them to do.

And whenever I've seen a new pastime
That I thought wouldn't interest me
I've hollered and shouted and bellered
'Til I've frightened the same up a tree.

St. Peter rejects the old man's application for entrance, commenting sarcastically:

You have overlooked tennis and bowling;
Likewise, checkers and golf and croquette,
And also some wicked old ladies
Who sit and drink tea and crochet.

And I'm sure there are several millions
Whose pleasures in life you've not crabbed;
And there's oodles of cush in reforming
That an A.1. reformer'd have grabbed.

I'm afraid you can't play in the finals;
You've foozled too dinged much by far,
And Im sure they don't want you in hades
So you'd better go sit on a star.

For putting the kibosh on pleasure
Because it's not pleasure to you
Doesn't give you the high-sign to heaven,
Or an oar on the heavenly crew.

Ed here reveals not only his partiality for sports but his distaste for narrow-minded reformers. It is not known whether the poem was printed.
A four-line poem, evidently used to autograph a book presented to Bert Leston Taylor in this case probably a copy of the first edition of Tarzan of the Apes was preserved in Ed's scrapbook:

You may not read it, B.L.T.
This book what I have wrote
But if you throw it on the floor
I hope it gets your goat.

The verse is signed with Ed's nom de plume; with the receipt of the book, Taylor obviously knew that Burroughs was Normal Bean. Other verses designed for book autographs, saved by Ed, are ones to Bert Weston and his family and to the Chicago Press Club. The verse to the Westons reads:

I'm trying to think of something bright
Upon this fly leaf to indite
To make the Western Tribe concieve me
To be some witty gink, believe me!
But now, at last, I must, forsooth,
Reveal to Bert and Mag the truth.
And why, indeed, should I delay it?
With naught to say, I haste to say it.

To the Press Club, in presenting a book, probably Tarzan of the Apes, Ed wrote as an autograph:

Wend, magnum opus, to the Press Club shelves,
Rewarding who for greater knowledge delves.
Upon they way a gift to them from me,
Since Led'rer says they will not pay for thee.

Lederer had remarked that he once wanted to make a cartoonist of Ed. Lederer, evidently an official, is referred to in The Scoop of November 7, 1914, when Ed was admitted as a new member.
A brief printed reference to Normal Bean, probably in "A Line-O'-Type or

Two," is in Ed's scrapbook: "Speaking of Normal Bean, the rising young novelist, this line occurs in the cast of `the Girl at the Gate': 'Normal Beane, a down and outer.' Fred Donaghey claims that William Gaston's contract, signed last May, calls on him `to play the part of Normal Beane in a new and brilliant musical comedy, etc.' Which sounds plausible enough all but the n. and b." The date is unknown. Ed's poetry scrapbook contains miscellaneous poems by other writers, including a 1914 poem by Rudyard Kipling

Poetry by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Poems I
Poems II
Genghis Khan
ERB The Poet
Two More Rare ERB Poems

ERBzine Weekly Webzine
The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs

Danton Burroughs Website: Tarzana Treasure Vaults
ERBzine Weekly Webzine

Weekly Webzine
John Coleman Burroughs Tribute Site
Burroughs Bibliophiles

John Carter Film

Navigator's Chart: ERB COSMOS
Links to Over 15,000 of  our sites
Weekly Online Fanzine
Online Encyclopedia
Visit our thousands of other sites at:
ERB Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
All Original Work ©1996-2023 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
No part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective owners.