Poem: Disillusion, or the Mistaken Muse by O. C. Cabot

   The poet at his window sat,
      A pen was in his hand;
   Beside him dozed the household cat,
      And peace was on the land;
The autumn sunshine, streaming in, was beautiful and bland.

   Far off, the breakers moan
      Along the shore, rock-starred;
   It seemed as if their monotone
      Was calling to the bard --
While, down below, his landlady was tidying-up the yard.

   He looked abroad, and then above,
      Toward the dazzling blue;
   Like some despairing, captive dove,
      A mournful glance he threw;
And sadly sighed, because his soul sought inspiration new.

   Alas! the breakers helped him not --
      The dazzling sky was dumb --
   And, though he thought an awful lot,
      Ideas would not come;
And he was not of those who fly to red, delusive Rum.

   Sudden and fierce a trumpet pealed
      Upon the autumn air;
   And instantly the poet wheeled
      And trembled in his chair --
"The Muse be praised!" he cried, "who sent that thought-awakening blare.

   "It shivers through my seeking brain
      And drowns the breakers' roar,
   And brings before my vision plain
      The awful pomp of war --
I hear them marching down the street -- I wonder what's the corps?

   "Ah, splendid lads in uniform
      Who guard our country's coast,
   And plunge through battle, fire and storm,
      A stern, undaunted host --
Right worthily have ye been dubbed the Nation's proudest boast!

   "The sun is sparkling on your helms,
      Your bayonets blaze bright,
   Like beings from heroic realms
      Ye burst upon the sight!
And, oh! my spirit yearns and burns to join ye in the fight!

   "I never heard the bugle call --
      Hark! There it swells again! --
   But Memory lifts the Past's dim pall
      And shows me clear and plain
The glorious wars your fathers waged -- and never waged in vain.

   "That martial sound reveals to me
      Each shrouded battlefield --
   Ten thousand gallant hearts I see,
      Who died but would not yield
When, from the grim, unconquered square, the shattered squadrons reeled!

   "Ha! Let me write!" He seized his pen
      The while his spirit glowed,
   And wrote in haste -- "Our fighting men:
      A Military Ode!"

   Then rose to view that stirring scene;
      But this was all it showed --
A bugle-playing ice-cream man come slowly up the road!

First published in The Bulletin, 9 July 1908

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 7, 2009 8:36 AM.

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