The previous Post (October 26th) introduced the epic of “Frenzied John.” The poem, a painful description of a chronic slicer, was left unfinished by Bert Leston Taylor, maybe for good reason. It was included in an article in the June 1926 issue of The American Golfer. The article also included a proposed ending. In addition, readers were asked to write their own endings and submit them to possibly win a prize. The ending that was included is as follows:
FRENZIED JOHN (proposed ending)
He tried the left side pivot,
Although he found it pained;
He turned his knee in from the tee
But still the kink remained.
He thought of weight and balance,
By toe and then by heel;
With shifting stance he did his dance,
But still they heard him squeal.
He sought a new instructor,
And seemed to be O. K.
But left alone, they heard him moan—
“I’m off again today.”
He bought a spoon and mashie
To help correct the ills;
They both felt great, but sad to state
They would not whang the pill.
His neighbors fled in panic
When he came off the course;
His wife in tears was game for years
And then grabbed a divorce.
He tried a slight pronation,
And said—”I’ve got it now”—
But by next day it went away
And furrows creased his brow.
“Perhaps,” he said, “I’m dipping
My shoulder down too far”:
He held it up, but missed the cup
And never got a par.
“I’m through,” he yelled in fury;
“I’m through for good—You’ll see”;
He quit a week, then grabbed his cleek
And hustled to the tee.
He tried the upright system.
Until I heard him curse;
And yet his game was not the same,
For it grew worse and worse.
In my view, Taylor’s unfinished poem is long enough and just needs maybe two more stanzas to bring it to a close. With that in mind I composed the following. (Note that the first stanza is Taylor’s last and then my two follow.)
My Proposed Ending
He laid the club-face forward,
He laid the club-face back.
His face grew thin, his chest fell in,
His mind began to crack.
He slumped but then remembered.
There was one other book.
He read it quick, and grabbed his stick
Ye gads no slice, a hook.
The moral of the story,
Grasp it ‘fore it’s too late.
Off the tee, ‘tween you and me,
It’s hard to hit it straight!