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- Tobogganing On Parnassus - 6/17 -

Each living thing I love; I love the birds; The beasts in field and forest, too, I love, But I have writ these poor, if metric words, To query which, by all the pow'rs above, Of all the animals--pray tell me, some one-- Is called by any courtesy a dumb one?

A Soft Susurrus

A soft susurrus in the night, A song whose singer is unseen-- 'Twere poetry itself to write "A soft susurrus in the night!" I know, as those mosquitos bite, That I forgot to fix that screen, "A soft susurrus in the night!" A song whose singer is unseen.

A Summer Summary

Shall I, lying in a grot, Die because the day is hot? Or declare I can't endure Such a torrid temperature? Be it hotter than the flames South Gehenna Junction claims, If it be not so to me, What care I how hot it be?

Shall I say I love the town Praised by Robinson and Browne? Shall I say, "In summer heat Old Manhattan can't be beat?" Be it luring as a bar, Or my neighbour's motor-car, If I think it is pazziz What care I how fine it is?

Shall I prate of rural joys Far from civic smoke and noise? Shall I, like the others, drool "But the nights are always cool?" If I hate to rise at six Shall I praise the suburbs? Nix! If the country's not for me, What care I how good it be?

Town or country, cool or hot, Differs nothing, matters not; For to quote that Roman cuss, Why dispute "de gustibus?" If to this or that one should Take a fancy, it is good. If these rhymes look good to me, What care I how bad they be?

A Quatrain

A quatrain fills a little space, Although it's pretty small, And oftentimes, as in this case, It has no point at all.

To a Light Housekeeper

(Who hitches laundering articles to the curtain string and pastes them on the pane.)

Lady, thou that livest Just across the way, If a hang thou givest What the people say, If a cuss thou carest What a poet thinks-- Hearken, if thou darest, Most immodest minx!

Though thy gloves thou tiest, To the curtain string, Though the things thou driest Gird me while I sing, Hankies and inventions Of the lacy tribe-- Things I may not mention, Let alone describe.

These I mutely stand for Though the sight offend, THIS I reprimand for; Take it from a friend:

Cease to pin thy tresses To the window sill, Or I'll tell the presses-- Honestly, I will.


How can I work when you play the piano, Feminine person above? How can I think, with your ceaseless soprano Singing: "Ah, Love--"?

How can I dream of a subject aesthetic, Far from the purlieus of prose? How, with the call of the peripatetic "High! High cash clo'es!"?

How can I write when the children are crying? How can I poetize--how? How can I help imper_fect_ versifying? (There is some now.)

How can I bathe in the thought--waves of beauty? How, with my nerves on the slant, Can I perform my poetical duty? Frankly, I can't.

Ballade of the Breakfast Table

When the Festal Board, as the papers say, Groans 'neath the weight of a lot to eat, At breakfast, Fruhstuck or dejeuner, (As a bard tri-lingual I'm rather neat) At breakfast, then, if I may repeat, This is what gets me into a huff, This is a query I cannot beat: Why don't they ever have spoons enough?

I've broken my fast with the grave and gay, With hoi polloi and with the elite; I've been all over the U. S. A. From Dorchester Crossing to Kearney Street. But aye when I sit in the morning seat Comes to my notice the self-same bluff, Plenty of food, but in this they cheat: Why don't they ever have spoons enough?

Take it at breakfast, only to-day: This was the layout, fresh and sweet: Canteloupe, sweet as the new-mown hay;[Footnote: And about as edible.] Cereal--one of the brands[Footnote: To advertisers: This space for sale.] of wheat; Soft--boiled eggs (we've cut out the meat); Coffee (a claro--manila--buff); Napery, china, and glasses complete-- Why don't they ever have spoons enough?


Autocratesses, forgive my heat, But isn't it time to change that stuff? Small is the benison I entreat-- Why don't they ever have spoons enough?


Unlearned I in ornithology-- All I know about the birds Is a bunch of etymology, Just a lot of high--flown words. Is the curlew an uxorial Bird? The Latin name for crow? Is the bulfinch grallatorial? I dunno.

O'er my head no golden gloriole Ever shall be proudly set For my knowledge of the oriole, Eagle, ibis, or egrette. I know less about the tanager And its hopes and fears and aims Than a busy Broadway manager Does of James.

Tobogganing On Parnassus - 6/17

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