With pen in hand and pipe in mouth, And claret iced to quench my drouth, I sit upon my balcony That overlooks the sparkling sea, Serenly gay, and cool, and bland - With pipe in mouth and pen in hand. This life I think is beautiful, When at the jug I take a pull. The harbor shines like azure silk; The claret tastes like mother's milk; Then to the pipe I turn again - And then I trifle with the pen. The red-faced neighbors townward go; The air is in a furnace glow. I watch them scorching as they pass, Like flies beneath a burning glass - Each clutching at the red-hot hour For coin; their folly turns me sour. The Business Man may fret and sweat In his black coat, for etiquette, And grow in shop and office old, And gather wrinkles with his gold - I sit in shirt-sleeves cool and bland, With pipe in mouth and pen in hand. The white clouds - idle they as I - Like dreaming gods, at leisure lie Upon the hill-crests. Smoke upcurls From chimneys lazily, and girls Below me, with bare, brown arms fine, Are pegging linen on a line. The great ships, from the world outside, Steam slowly in with stately pride, Their giant screws now gently spin; 'Tis good to watch them gliding in From East, and West, and North, and South, With jug in hand and pipe in mouth. These visions fill me with content, And I remember not the rent. When with cool breezes comes the night It will be time enough to write. Then you shall see me start the band - With pipe in mouth and pen in hand.
First published in The Bulletin, 9 November 1911