Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PEOPLE, by WILLIAM ROSE BENET



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PEOPLE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I was painting dolphins on a silver sea
Last Line: "whoo-oop!"" I bellowed. ""who will? Who will? When?"
Subject(s): Humanity; Mankind; Paintings & Painters; Human Race


I was painting dolphins on a silver sea
When a genial, jawful upstart came to me.
"Poof!" he cried. "A rum thing!
I foretell your fate.
Give the people something
They'll appreciate!
People want the vital. People love the real.
Hence—your just requital! You are too ideal.
No one does as you do. Wise they grow—and rich!"

All I crooned was "Who do? Who do which?"

While my clarion shattered dawn's resplendent gold,
Hobbled up a tattered grandsire, glum and old.
Cackling "Lawksadaisy!"
Stood awhile, and spat.
Then he said "You're crazy!
What's the good of that?
People want the mellow. People prize the mild.
You are but a yellow journal's jaundiced child.
Fervor for the few does. Wiser heads say 'Tut!"'

All I smiled was "Who does? Who does what?"

Where my purple vastures know not days or hours,
In celestial pastures picking stars for flowers,
Midway through my revel, of his own accord,
Popped a little devil up through heavenly sward.
"Lord! Is this your fashion? How you're wasting time!
People pine for passion mixed with their sublime.
People are romantic. People love to pry. ..."
Then I froze that antic devil with my eye.
Then I pounced upon him. Then I hurled him high
Crimsonly careering down the whirling sky,
Sputtering "You—you—you will hear from me again!"

"Whoo-oop!" I bellowed. "Who will? Who will? WHEN?"





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