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The Umpire

He was tall and rugged and coated with tan,
He asked no odds and he feared no man.
When he shouted "Strike!" or yelped "Ball Two!"
You can wager it went, and went clear through.
Seldom he argued, and never he fined
The player who cursed or the player who whined,
But he ran the game from beginning to end,
Knew no mercy and feared no friend.

Six years in the league he remained the same,
Sneering at kickers and bossing the game,
Snapping at roughnecks who made foolish howls,
Slapping them, sometimes, fair on the jowls;
Taking no talk, always making good,
He ran the game as an umpire should,
Till every paper and every fan
Allowed that Flynn was a fearless man.

Flynn weighed two hundred, ringside weight,
His sweet little wife weighed a hundred and eight;
But when he finished the daily game
And home to his small apartment came
It was "Mike, you're late!" and "Stay in the flat!"
"Mike, do this!" and "Mike, do that!"
'Twas surely a shame, and almost a sin,
The way that she bullied the fearless Flynn.

* * *

Kipling knew nothing concerning the Flynns
When he wrote about "bearing the yoke."
A woman is only a woman, perhaps,
But an umpire's only a joke.

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