Poem: The Poet's Pay by Edward Dyson

The poet took two bottles stout
   Of good old Queensland rum,
And one of ink, and spread them out;
   A bottle, too, of gum,
And big blank sheets of paper white,
   And then resumed his place
Amid the crockery to write
   A poem of rare grace
   That must command its space,
And e'en a thumping cheque invite,
   And please the populace.

The poet wrote the whole night through,
   And at the rum he sipped.
The sheets about the room he strew,
   And in the ink he dipped.
He gummed this stanza next to that,
   And paused a while to think,
Then charged again with venom at
   The bottle holding ink
   His merry rhymes to chink,
And every time a line went flat
   He took another drink.

And when at length the day had come
   Quite empty were the lot
Of bottles - gum, and ink, and rum.
   The poet, though, was not.
Full, too, the pages....Fortune hard
   Brought back the verse again.
Then for the bottles in the yard
   The poet went from a swain
   Three coppers did obtain.
"See, earnest labor," cried the bard,
   "Is never wholly vain!"

First published in The Bulletin, 3 January 1918.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 11, 2005 12:42 PM.

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