A poem by John Kendall

'Farewell. What a subject! How sweet
It looks to the careless observer!
So simple; so easy to treat
With tenderness, mark you, and fervour.
Farewell. It's a poem; the song
Of nightingales crying and calling!'
O Reader, you're utterly wrong.
It's not. It's appalling!

And yet when she asked me to send
Some trifle of verse to remind her
Of days that had come to an end,
And one she was leaving behind her,
It looked, as we stood on the shore,
A theme so entirely delightsome
That I, like a lunatic, swore
(Quite calmly) to write some.

I've toiled with unwavering pluck;
I've struggled if ever a man did;
Infringed every postulate, stuck
At nothing, - nay, once, to be candid,
I shifted the cadence - designed
A fresh but unauthorised fare-well;
'Twas plausible, too, but I find
The thing doesn't wear well.

I know that it shouldn't be hard;
That dozens, who claim to be poets,
Could scribble off stuff by the yard
And fare very well; and I know it's
A theme that the Masters of Rhyme
Have written some excellent verse on,
Which proves, as I take it, that I'm
Not that sort of person.

But that we can leave. It remains
To state that my present appearance
Is something too awful, my brains
Are tending to wild incoherence;
My mental condition's absurd;
My thoughts are at sixes and sevens,
Inextrica - lord! what a word!
Inextri - good heavens!

My dear, you can do what you like, -
Forgive, or despise, or abuse me -
But frankly, I'm going on strike,
And really you'll have to excuse me.
Indeed it's my only resource,
For, sure as I stuck to my promise, I'd
Be booked in a week for a course
Of sui-cum-homicide.

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