It stands upon my table now, A big, square block of copy paper; O'er this for many months, I vow, I needs must burn the midnight taper. It's ready for me, waiting but And inspiration straight from Heaven - Two thousand slips, all trimly cut, Just as I like them, ten by seven. And ere a bigger theme I seize I sit a little while, and ponder The wondrous possibilities Of that white, virgin paper yonder. It is the fallow ground my pen Will plough in rows half-inch asunder, And sow with myriad seeds. And then What will the harvest be, I wonder? Perchance it's lurking in the pile, As in the stone once hid a Milo, My novel, fine in theme and style, Or only tracts on maize and silo, And vagrant pars and tinkling rhymes The better readers will make nought of; Perchance the play which many times, With great invention, I have thought of. Maybe those pages will be seamed With lines to make me really famous, Or stained with japes that might be dreamed By any scribbling ignoramus. Already visions seem to stir. I fear me, though, that Fate's black malice Will make a whited sepulchre Where I would have a fairy palace.
First published in The Bulletin, 19 October 1916