Behind the Arras: A Book of the Unseen

by Bliss Carman


The Dustman


DUSTMAN, dustman!
"Through the deserted square he cries,
And babies put their rosy fists
Into their eyes.

There 's nothing out of No-man's-land


So drowsy since the world began,
As "Dustman, dustman,

He goes his village round at dusk
From door to door, from day to day;


And when the children hear his step
They stop their play.

"Dustman, dustman!"
Far up the street he is descried,
And soberly the twilight games


Are laid aside.

"Dustman, dustman!"
There, Drowsyhead, the old refrain,
"Dustman, dustman!"
It goes again.


Dustman, dustman,
Hurry by and let me sleep.
When most I wish for you to come,
You always creep.

Dustman, dustman,


And when I want to play some more,
You never then are further off
Than the next door.

"Dustman, dustman!"
He beckles down the echoing curb,


A step that neither hopes nor hates
Ever disturb.

"Dustman, dustman!"
He never varies from one pace,
And the monotony of time


Is in his face.

And some day, with more potent dust,
Brought from his home beyond the deep,
And gently scattered on our eyes,
We, too, shall sleep,—


Hearing the call we know so well
Fade softly out as it began,
"Dustman, dustman,