Sonntag, 6. November 2016

Harry Graham (2)

Die beiden einleitenden Gedichte aus »Familiar Faces« (1907):

Harry Graham: The Cry of the Publisher

O my Author, do you hear the Autumn calling? 
   Does its message fail to reach you in your den,  
Where the ink that once so sluggishly was crawling  
   Courses swiftly through your stylographic pen?  
'Tis the season when the editor grows active,  
   When the office-boy looks longingly to you.  
Won't you give him something novel and attractive  
                                                         To review?
Never mind if you are frivolous or solemn, 
   If you only can be striking and unique, 
The reviewers will concede you half a column  
   In their literary journals, any week.  
And 'twill always be your publisher's ambition  
   To provide for the demand that you create,  
And dispose of a gigantic first edition,  
                                           While you wait.
O my Author, can't you pull yourself together,  
   Try to expiate the failures of the past,  
And just ask yourself dispassionately whether
   You can't give us something better than your last?  
If you really—if you truly—are a poet,  
   As you fancy—pray forgive my being terse—  
Don't you think you might occasionally show it  
                                                  In your verse?

Harry Graham: The Cry of the Author

O my Publisher, how dreadfully you bore me!  
   Of your censure I am frankly growing tired.  
With your diatribes eternally before me,  
   How on earth can I expect to feel inspired?  
You are orderly, no doubt, and systematic,  
   In that office where recumbent you recline;  
You would modify your methods in an attic  
                                              Such as mine.
If you lived a sort of hand-to-mouth existence  
   (Where the mouth found less employment than the hand);  
If your rhymes would lend your humour no assistance,  
   And your wit assumed a form that never scann'd;  
If you sat and waited vainly at your table 
   While Calliope declined to give her cues,  
You would realise how very far from stable  
                                          Was the Mews!
You would find it quite impossible to labour  
   With the patient perseverance of a drone,  
While some tactless but enthusiastic neighbour  
   Played a cake walk on a wheezy gramophone,  
While your peace was so disturbed by constant clatter,  
   That at length you grew accustomed—nay, resigned,  
To the never-ending victory of Matter  
                                       Over Mind.
While you batten upon plovers' eggs and claret,  
   In the shelter of some fashionable club, 
I am starving, very likely, in a garret,  
   Off the street so incorrectly labelled Grub,  
Where the vintage smacks distinctly of the ink-butt, 
   And the atmosphere is redolent of toil, 
And there's nothing for the journalist to drink but 
                                          Midnight oil!
It is useless to solicit inspiration  
   When one isn't in the true poetic mood,  
When one contemplates the prospect of starvation, 
   And one's little ones are clamouring for food.  
When one's tongue remains ingloriously tacit, 
   One is forced with some reluctance to admit  
That, alas! (as Virgil said) Poeta nascit-  
                                           -Ur, non fit!
Then, my Publisher, be gentle with your poet;
   Do not treat him with the harshness he deserves,  
For, in fact, altho' you little seem to know it,  
   You are gradually getting on his nerves.  
Kindly dam the foaming torrent of your curses,
   While I ask you,—yes, and pause for a reply,—  
Are you writing this immortal book of verses,  
                                                     Or am I?

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