Poem: A Settlement by Roderic Quinn

If I told you, little girl,
As you sit serene and muse,
   With your red lips so compressed,
   And that verse-book on your breast,
Of the flower, the rose you are --
Would you pinch me for stale news?

If his verses please you so,
Would the poet meet your scorn?
   If he sought to lay his head
   Where his verses lie half-read --
Would he wake you from your dream?
Would the rose unleash a thorn?

Ah, the verses on your breast!
And the book so gently nursed!
   Must a poet ever make
   Life a dream for others' sake?
Must he pour the wine and stand --
Stand for ever all athirst?

If the song be worth a coin
(Such a coin as few would miss),
   What's to pay the soul that gave
   All its best of gay or grave?
If a song be worth a coin,
Sure the singer's worth a kiss!

If the singer, little girl,
Pressed his suit for payment sweet,
   I am sure that you who muse
   Would not thrust him out -- refuse;
So ... Ah well, that pays the debt:
And in kind ... I make receipt.

First published in The Bulletin, 13 October 1900

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 2, 2008 8:30 AM.

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