Marquis Waxes Eloquent on Toonerville

Came upon this poem in the Cleveland Leader of July 30, 1916. Don’t know if Marquis ever included it in one of his books. The amazing thing to me is that the Toonerville trolley made such an impression on him this quickly. The earliest trolley cartoon I have found in Fox’s panels was in February 1916, just five months before he wrote this poem. Has anybody seen trolley cartoons from earlier than that?

The Toonerville Trolley (to F. Fox)

by Don Marquis in N. Y. Evening Sun, July 1916

When I get a little bit older
I’d like to be done with hard knocks,
And I think I’ll apply for a job to
The well-known cartooner, F. Fox;
For I want to hire out as the Skipper
(Who dodges life’s stress and its strains)
Of the Trolley, the Toonerville Trolley,
The Trolley that Meets all the Trains.

It runs (when its humor’s for running)
Through a country that’s sweetly at rest –
Through a country that loafs with its coat off
And three buttons gone from its vest,
And I want to hire out as the Skipper
Who, whether it shines or it rains,
Runs the Trolley, the Toonerville Trolley,
The Trolley that Meets all the Trains.

Unhurried, unflurried, unworried,
By Chronos completely unvext,
If I should miss a train I would murmur:
“Perhaps I’ll connect with the next!”
If I then missed the next one, no matter!
I shouldn’t go blowout my brains
If the Trolley, the Toonerville Trolley,
Should fail to meet some of the trains.

In the end, when I met up with Charon,
Waiting there by the Stygian bank,
I’d remark to him, “Oarsman immortal,
You can’t impress me with your swank!
You treat me as Skipper to Skipper-
My corpse is no common remains!
For I ran the Trolley, the Toonerville Trolley,
The Trolley that Met all the Trains!”

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