Poem: A Poetaster's Dirge by W.T. Goodge

      I can't be a poet;
      I haven't the time.
      And few papers pay for
      A serious rhyme.
      But, were I a poet
      To labor at night
      On gloomy forebodings,
      'Tis this I would write:--

The sunlight grew fainter behind the dark ranges,
   The cry of the curlew came clear through the trees;
The jackass was sounding his sunset exchanges,
   And soft sounds of nightfall were born on the breeze.

And I at the camp-fire was gazing, and dreaming
   Of days in the future still hid from view;
In doubt if success in the embers were gleaming,
   Or failure were writ in the sparks as they flew.

The up-curling smoke of the camp-fire grew whiter;
   There came forth a vision that whispered,
"O, friend! Why fret if the future be darker or brighter;
   If bright or if dark, 'tis the same in the end!

"Be poor or wealthy; be sick or be healthy;
   Be sad or be merry; to what does it tend?
The grim hand of Fate is as certain as stealthy!
   Poor Mortal! 'Tis ever the same in the end!

"Is happiness found in the glory or splendor
   That Favor and Fortune to mortals may send?
Does Misery dwell in the creatures who lend her
   Their tears? It is ever the same in the end!"

The coo-ee rang sharp, and the vision vanished,
   I answered the call of my mate from the bend;
But never the thought has been utterly banished:
   The lot of us all is the same in the end!

      I can't be a poet
      I told you before.
      I have to be keeping
      The wolf from the door.
      But were I a poet,
      And gave you my best,
      I'd fill you with sadness
      And gloom like the rest!

First published in The Bulletin, 3 August 1905

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