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Short poem

Franklin Pierce Adams (1881-1960)

Lines from a Plutocratic Poetaster to a Ditch-digger

              1Sullen, grimy, labouring person,
              2    As I passed you in my car,
              3I could sense your muffled curse on
              4    It and me and my cigar;
              5And though mute your malediction,
              6    I could feel it on my head,
              7As in countless works of fiction
              8        I have read.

              9Envy of mine obvious leisure
            10    Seemed to green your glittering eye;
            11Hate for mine apparent pleasure
            12    Filled you as I motored by.
            13You who had to dig for three, four
            14    Hours in that unpleasant ditch,
            15Loathed, despised, and hated me for
            16        Being rich.

            17And you cursed me into Hades
            18    As you envied me that ride
            19With the loveliest of ladies
            20    Sitting at my dexter side;
            21And your wish, or your idea,
            22    Was to hurl us off some cliff.
            23I could see that you thought me a
            24        Lucky stiff.

            25If you came to the decision,
            26    As my car you mutely cussed,
            27That allottment and division
            28    Are indecently unjust --
            29Labouring man, however came you
            30    Thus to think the world awry,
            31I should be the last to blame you ...
            32        So do I.


1] Poetaster: bad poet.

20] dexter: right.

24] stiff: contemptible guy.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Franklin P. Adams, Weights and Measures (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page, 1917): 134-35. LE A2121w Robarts Library
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2003
Recent editing: 1:2003/8/13

Form: octaves
Rhyme: ababcdcd

Other poems by Franklin Pierce Adams