Poem: The Poet Sang by Kodak (Ernest O'Ferrall)

The poet sang with his soul on fire,
Without a thought of reward or hire.

For when to think of his pay he stopped,
He noticed his inspiration dropped.

So he made his song in the forge
of his heart And the finished thing was a work of art.

Then he took it in -- as a poet must --
To market the thing in some paper's dust.

And they measured it with impassive face,
For Art was a thing they bought by space.

They judged his treasure -- the fact is hard --
Not carat by carat, but yard by yard.

Then they did a sum on the poet's rump
Which gave its creator the blessed hump.

For, bought by the fathom, as all might see,
The poem's value was one-and-three!

The poet shuffled his gifted feet,
And signed with a flourish the sad receipt.

Ere he walked away with his thoughts at sea
And a spec in his palm -- the one-and-three!

He tearfully d--d his mistress Art,
And wished he could drive a horse and cart,

Or trundle a barrow or shovel coal,
For such plain jobs required no soul.

He knew of all gifts that "soul" was worst;
For owners of soul must sing or burst.

With a heart as heavy as any log,
He sat and howled like a mourning dog.

In ragged garments, with chin in air,
He sat and howled in his mad despair.

And no one who heard him e'er guessed that he
Bewailed a lost poem, price one-and-three.

First published in The Bulletin, 27 May 1915

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 2, 2005 10:18 AM.

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