|The Collected Letters of REH|
Roses laughed in her pretty hair,
Shading her eyes from the sun’s rude stare
A little hand was prettily raised,
Nor ever enough might it be praised.
Five little fingers, soft and white,
A dimple, a sheer kiss of delight.
But, miss, a hand that I held in mine,
Some nights ago was e’en more fine.
A hand that I must grant more praise,
Three aces and a pair of treys.
But poker wasn’t the only game in town for REH and his friends. Tucked away in the last two pages of REH’s semi-autobiographical book, Post Oaks and Sand Roughs (PO&SR) is a poem that pays tribute to another card game:
The Seven-Up Ballad
Carl Macon was a kollege kid of far and wide renown,
Also a champ at seven-up and the wildest sot in town.
And in a way there came a day of high and lofty fame
For title of the eating house was the prize for a game.
Carl gave a yell and dealt the cards unto the other chumps
And they all whooped with joyous glee when diamonds turned up trumps.
“High, jack and game is here, begad!” Pink bellered with a scowl;
“You lie, you sot! You have it not!” Carl answered with a yowl.
Pink led the ace of trumps full soon, and “There,” said he, “is high!”
Carl followed suit, it was a trey, with a tough light in his eye.
Then Pink led out the queen of trumps and gave an ugly frown;
Carl snickered with unholy glee and laid a four spot down.
Pink swore full long and loud and rough and led the deuce of clubs;
Carl caught it with a king and said, “You’re all a lot of dubs.”
He led an ace and caught a king, “Here’s a game for me, egad!”
For many an ace and many a face the wicked scoundrel had.
And then an argument arose and loud was their abuse
And Pink got into lead again with a nine upon a deuce.
Then Pink laid down the diamond king and feinted with his right,
“Egad, that jack of yours will go, if it takes the rest of the night.”
Carl drank four pints of beer or so and at his hand he glanced —
He flung his cards at Stupid’s head and in his rage he danced
Then with a curse that would, egad, clean freeze a camel’s humps,
Beside the king that Pink had led he put the jack of trumps.
“Hold on! Begad!” somebody said, “That king’s been led, by damn!”
“Too late, too late!” the sot replied, “It is, it was, it am!”
Then long and loud the battle raged until the evening meal,
They punched each other in the nose and bit each other’s heel.
The battle lasted all that night; at last the field was clear,
And Pink had high and jack and game and Carl was drunk on beer.