Sonntag, 30. April 2017

Harry Graham (27)

Aus »Misrepresentative Women« (1906):
Harry Graham: Mrs. Christopher Columbus

The bride grows pale beneath her veil,
   The matron, for the nonce, is dumb,
Who listens to the tragic tale
   Of Mrs. Christopher Columb:
Who lived and died (so says report)
A widow of the herbal sort.
Her husband upon canvas wings
   Would brave the Ocean, tempest-tost;
He had a cult for finding things
   Which nobody had ever lost,
And Mrs. C. grew almost frantic
When he discovered the Atlantic.
But nothing she could do or say
   Would keep her Christopher at home;
Without delay he sailed away
   Across what poets call »the foam,«
While neighbors murmured, »What a shame!«
And wished their husbands did the same.
He ventured on the highest C’s
   That reared their heads above the bar,
Knowing the compass and the quays
   Like any operatic star;
And funny friends who watched him do so
Would call him »Robinson Caruso.«
But Mrs. C. remained indoors,
   And poked the fire and wound the clocks,
Amused the children, scrubbed the floors,
   Or darned her absent husband’s socks.
(For she was far too sweet and wise
To darn the great explorer’s eyes.)
And when she chanced to look around
   At all the couples she had known,
And realized how few had found
   A home as peaceful as her own,
She saw how pleasant it may be
To wed a chronic absentee.
Her husband’s absence she enjoyed,
   Nor ever asked him where he went,
Thinking him harmlessly employed
   Discovering some Continent.
Had he been always in, no doubt,
Some day she would have found him out.
And so he daily left her side
   To travel o’er the ocean far,
And she who, like the bard, had tried
   To »hitch her wagon to a star,«
Though she was harnessed to a comet,
Got lots of satisfaction from it.
To him returning from the West
   She proved a perfect anti-dote,
Who loosed his Armour (beef compress’d)
   And sprayed his »automobile throat«;
His health she kept a jealous eye on,
And played PerUna to his lion!
And when she got him home again,
   And so could wear the jewels rare
Which Isabella, Queen of Spain,
   Entrusted to her husband’s care,
Her monetary wealth was »far
Beyond the dreams of caviar!«
 ·  ·  ·  ·  · 
A melancholy thing it is
   How few have known or understood
The manifold advantages
   Of such herbaceous widowhood!
(What is it ruins married lives
But husbands... not to mention wives?)
O wedded couples of to-day,
   Pray take these principles to heart,
And copy the Columbian way
   Of living happily apart.
And so, to you, at any rate,
Shall marriage be a »blessèd state.«

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