A Poem to commemorate an Urgent Telegram.

The Cumberland Argus
23 June 1920 p. 3.

Sydney to Parramatta - by Electric Telegraph.
I hear you calling me.
A Modern ballad.

A city engineer was called
To Parramatta town
To fix a wooden pulley up
And take another down.
He did the job and Sydneywards
At evening homeward sped,
His brow was wet (that honest sweat
That earns the daily bread).

By 8, next morn, at engine-start,
Alas, it then was found
The shafting failed to make a move
(The pulley slipping round).
The telephone was out on strike
(It often is, you know!)
And spoke the master through his teeth:
"A telegram must go".

On Tuesday, 10 o'clock, it went,
At three he sent one too
(If first should fail to bring the man,
The second p'raps would do) -
But that's just where mistake was made,
Forgetting No. 1
At nightfall, he prepared for work -
Next, morn the job was done!

But Sydney's active postal men
Laid hands on No. 2.
Set it aside for three full days -
Then sought to rush it through!
In "Urgent" envelope they sent
The wire to whom addressed.
At 3 on Friday afternoon
The man was much distressed.

To read, "Please come, wheel will not do"
It slips round on the shaft!"-
(Yet twice upon that job he'd wrought!) -
In rising wrath he laughed.
Then swore a space, reached for his hat
And dashed to catch a train.
Resolved to fix that blooming wheel
Or not go home again!

He found the fact'ry in full swing,
And everyone well pleased,
Machinery moving at the pace
Of lightning when 'tis greased!
"Why, in the name of All that's Red,
And blasted, torn, and rent
(With adjectives unprintable)
Was urgent message sent?"

"This wire was lodged, now, don't you see?
(Date-stamp, and so-and-so) -
For you to come and do that work
You did two days ago.
The 'urgent' wrap is Sydney's joke
That you might plainly see
That they're alive when doing things
By "electricity"!

Convinc'd 'twas Tuesday afternoon
That Parramatta wired,
And Sydney held till Friday night,
The engineer back-fired.
In sixteen football languages,
And, asking "Who's to pay?"
Was told to look to Government -
He swore and swore away!

In-pity for his useless trip
They tried to soothe his rage,
Explaining that the Telegram
"Had died in ripe old age"
"T'was full of life, when leaving here",
The foreman softly said,
"But, ageing on its journey, it
Has now been three days dead".

"Then why the 'urgent' envelope
To fetch me on the hop?"
"They wrap a mummy in its best
From that embalming shop!" -
Exploded then the Sydneyite.
His jaw with swearing jammed
(An apoplectic sign!) - the man
Was badly telegrammed!!