Works in the Herald 1930

A poet in London, it is cabled, declares that true poets should never work. They should await inspiration in order to fit the mind for the reception of the Muse.

Perhaps true poets never toil –-
   I do not know.
Their minds are rich and virgin soil
   Where flowers grow –-
Rare everlastings born to smile
   In Time’s great rooms –-
That come once every long, long while,
   As cactus blooms.

But how, I always want to know,
   Do poets eat,
If now and then they do not grow
   A crop of wheat –-
Some marketable product which
   The people buy?
Even if they do not wax rich,
   What need to die?

Should one wait for a tardy Muse,
   Patient and dumb?
But then, suppose she should refuse
  Ever to come?
Or, coming, find the bard’s wan cheek
   Awry with pain;
The host with hunger far too weak
   To entertain.

Mere rhymsters weaving little rhymes,
   Unstable stuff
To please the crowd and suit the times,
   Find pain enough.
So they must toil to serve gross needs
   Till some glad day,
When men will turn aside from weeds,
   And flowers pay.

Herald, 6 May 1930, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003