THE CENSOR by C.J. Dennis

      The Censor sits behind his desk,
         And smiles a censored smile;
      His great, blue pencil hovers o'er
      Some masterpiece awhile,
Then swoops - oh, child of whose poor ravished brain?
Coldly another innnocent is slain!

      The Censor is a murderer.
         None knows his secret lair,
      Nor all the dark and awful deeds
         He does in ambush there.
No eye has seen his charnel-house - it's floor
With literary corpses littered o'er.

      The Censor is a crocodile.
         Beneath that slimy flood,
      The Waters of Oblivion,
         He seeks his livelihood.
His gloating eye marks children of my pen;
He draws them under from the sight of men.

      The Censor is a nibbling mouse.
         The fair cheese of my mind
      He rifles till there's nothing left
         But atmosphere and rind.
That fair, round cheese, formed lovingly by me,
From milk of thought and curds of poesy.

      The Censor is an elephant.
         With large, ungainly feet
      He dances on the glad, green fields
         I sowed in toil and heat,
Till all the fairest flow'rs of thought are slain,
And only unaesthetic weeds remain.

      The Censor is the Fiend of Storms.
         Upon the Inky Sea,
      In fear, my poor, frail craft I launch;
         Then, with unholy glee,
He makes the winds tear howling through the shrouds,
And sends fork'd death and shipwreck from the clouds.

      The Censor is a sorceror.
         Above rare fruits that grow
      Upon the tree of genius
         His hand waves to and fro.
Hey, Presto!  And their lusciousness is slain -
Apples of Sodom, Dead Sea Fruit remain.

      The Censor is a hooded snake
         That lurks within the grass,
      And rears to sink his poison-fangs
         In heedless babes that pass -
Dear Children of my brain; wee, tender things,
That sink and swoon and perish when he stings.

      And still he is a gentleman;
         This much I will admit.
      In "Correspondence Columns" he
         Seeks not to air his wit;
On shrinking backs he lays no caustic stripe,
Nor stoops to call our Masterpieces "tripe"!

First published in The Bulletin, 15 April 1915

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