Of Poetry I’ve been accused,
But much more often I have not;
Oh, I have been so much amused
By those who’ve put me on the spot,
And measured me by rules above
Those I observe with equal love.
An artisan of verse am I,
Of simple sense and humble tone;
My Thesaurus is handy by,
A rhyming lexicon I own;
Without them I am ill at ease –
What bards would use such aids as these?
Bad poets make good verse, they say;
The Great have not distained to woo
The modest muse of every day;
Read Longfellow and Byron through,
The fabric test – much verse you’ll see
Compared with what is poetry.
Small blame; one cannot always soar
To heights of hyaline sublime;
Melodious prose one must deplore,
And fetters of rebellious rhyme:
Keats, Browning – that’s another tale,
But even Giants fail and fail.
I’ve worshipped Ryley, Harte and Field,
And though their minstrelsy I lack,
To them heart-homage here I yield,
And follow with my verseman’s pack:
To them with gratitude I look,
For briefing me to make this book.