Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PROFITABLE THINGS, by WILLIAM ROSE BENET



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

PROFITABLE THINGS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: All your other wares you pushed my way
Last Line: Profitable only?
Subject(s): Wealth; Riches; Fortunes


All your other wares you pushed my way.
I refused them.
There were things drew praise on every shelf,
Obvious merits valued by yourself,
Showy things that caused the crowd to stay.
I could not have used them.

Yet I stayed. I might have made a slip.
Private virtues,
Cold, secreted hoards of them, my glance
Pierced to, by a most unhappy chance,
While you stared and bit your nether lip --
That grimace the hurt use.

Hoarding these you sinned in subtler ways
Of secret worship:
"Man but steals my worth at God's replevin.
These will gain me great applause in Heaven.
I am sure of the Almighty's praise
For my connoisseurship!"

Nothing -- nothing! Yet I searched. I must
Not leave embittered.
Then, 'neath humbug, glazed self-satisfaction,
Littered gauds of cant, I found retraction
Of my verdict. Down among the dust
Something surely glittered!

One lone hour of agony, overlaid
By this clutter
Of the thoughts and acts your world acclaims!
One experience; hosts of futile aims;
Once that dead heart beat -- your soul was weighed
With the words none utter!

Men are right to hide such things, and deep --
Battling lonely.
Ah, but friend, my friend, -- this gloating stealth,
This rich air o'er what you call your wealth!
Still so gulled by things so barren, cheap,
Profitable only?





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