Last Songs from Vagabondia

by Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey


 

THE SCEPTICS


 

IT was the little leaves beside the road.

Said Grass, "What is that sound
So dismally profound,
That detonates and desolates the air?"

5
"That is St. Peter’s bell,"
Said rain-wise Pimpernel;
"He is music to the godly,
Though to us he sounds so oddly,
And he terrifies the faithful unto prayer."
10

Then something very like a groan
Escaped the naughty little leaves.

Said Grass, "And whither track
These creatures all in black,
So woebegone and penitent and meek?"

15
"They’re mortals bound for church,"
Said the little Silver Birch;
"They hope to get to heaven
And have their sins forgiven,
If they talk to God about it once a week."
20

And something very like a smile
Ran through the naughty little leaves.

Said Grass, "What is that noise
That startles and destroys
Our blessed summer brooding when we’re tired?"

25
"That’s folk a-praising God,"
Said the tough old cynic Clod;
"They do it every Sunday,
They’ll be all right on Monday;
It’s just a little habit they’ve acquired."
30

And laughter spread among the little leaves.