Poem: The Unwritten Books by E. Dyson

By faith I see them, neatly ranged,
   Each in its decorated wrapper.
They've stood just so, untouched, unchanged,
   Some portly tomes and others dapper,
For many years, and as to-day;
   With authors' egotism bitten,
I've gazed on their devices gay
And wondered at the fine display
   Of splendid works I've not yet written.

Here stands my volume tall and slim,
   Of lover verses, "Tears of Acid,"
And here the novel fat and trim
   That was to limn the painful, placid
Besotting life of little trade,
   A book with bubbling springs of wit in,
A volume blithe of sketches made,
And one of essays strong and staid --
   All noble books I have not written.

The books I have not written are
   The only ones I'm proud of owning;
Their verses have a virtue far
   Above the rhymes' innocuous droning
You'll find in printed books of mine,
   The wretched things I ne'er admit in
Where polished blackwood forms a shrine,
And, marshalled smartly line on line,
   Are cased the books I have not written.

These masterpieces have no flaw
   Of paper, type or illustration;
Their get-up honors every law
   That Morris gave an eager nation.
Content I'll rest, if when I lie
   Some dust-strewn, old forgotten pit in
Posterity will judge me by
These works expressing all that's I,
   The noble books I have not written!

First published in The Bulletin, 23 January 1919

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 2, 2005 9:38 AM.

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