John Joseph "Jack" Hogan was born in 1910 in Troy, Montana, the son of John and Bridget's son William and a brother of the writer and mystic Harold Hogan. He was graduated from Gonzaga High School in Spokane and attended college there for two years, but had to withdraw because of the Great Depression. He worked in mining and logging camps till he was 29 with his brothers Harold and Arthur, then relocated to Washington, D. C. There he rented a room and spent two weeks teaching himself to type. He began working for the federal government as a GS-l clerk-typist; three years later he was inducted into the Army and sent to Persia where he served for three years during World War II as secretary to Brigadier General Donald P. Booth. On his return he resumed work as a civilian for the Navy Department; when he retired in 1972, he was Chief of Naval Personnel for the Washington, D. C. area. This is one of his poems.
SAGA OF SAINT PATRICK
In ancient days the emerald isle
Was overrun with crawling things.
The serpents and the centipedes
Were commonplace as Irish kings.
At funerals, at christenings,
At weddings and at wakes,
Each festive scene was always marred
By scores of uninvited snakes.
The things went on from bad to worse
And finally reached a sorry pass
When Harps scarce dared to leave their homes
For fear of snakes among the grass.
The Micks, for once, were all agreed
That something must be done, and quick.
But no one seemed to know just what --
A common failing of the Mick.
Then up spoke "Flannel-Mouth" Pat Burke,
Who swore he knew a certain way
To free old Erin of her curse
And banish all the snakes away.
With some misgiving, be it said,
A law was passed to give old Burke
Authority to go ahead
With his exterminating work.
Well, Patrick sized the problem up
And poured a quart of poteen down
To stimulate his powers of thought,
And then he really went to town.
He sent an order through the land,
And posted it on every tree,
An order stating that each snake
Could have its fill of poteen -- free!
The snakes, of course, were overjoyed
At thoughts of such an unexpected treat,
Nor ever stopped to count the cost,
But swilled the potent beverage neat.
For seven days these serpents toped
On nectar fit for Irish kings,
But on the eighth d.t.'s set in --
The serpents started seeing things!
Now, when an Irishman has bibed
Too freely of the native brew,
Quite commonly his sight is cursed
With phantom snakes of emerald hue.
With snakes, of course, the same holds true,
Save that the nightmare is reversed.
In alcoholic phantasy
Their sight with Irishmen is cursed!
The celtic man, at best, is not
A spectacle of sheer delight,
And in the serpents' phantasy
It seemed a dread and horrid sight.
With rolling eyes and lashing tails
They headed for the rocky shore;
Plunged in the sea and disappeared
From Erin's haunts for evermore.