Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, OLD STUFF, by BERTON BRALEY



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OLD STUFF, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The fashion is to sneer at them, to mock and mouth and jeer at them
Last Line: But, take 'em all in all, my son, the copybooks are right!
Subject(s): Humanity


The fashion is to sneer at them, to mock and mouth and jeer at them,
Those simple honest maxims that the copybooks contained;
For modernists most cynical look down as from a pinnacle
And tell us that the potency of ancient saws has waned.
They damn them in totality for all their "smug morality."
"Be good and you'll be happy" is, they tell us, false and trite,
But spite of skeptics critical and hyper-analytical
I have a mild suspicion that the copybooks are right!

"Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again" is proven to our eyes again
If we but watch humanity about us, day by day,
And underneath Old Sol I see that Honesty's a policy
Which, by and large and in the main, is pretty sure to pay;
Yes, call them "dull beatitudes and ancient, moldy platitudes"
Yet somehow those who follow them keep rather near the light,
For simple tests and practical bear out their truth didactical
And as a working plan of life the copybooks are right!

They lack in vim and snappiness but as a guide to happiness
Those plain and prosy proverbs of our fathers are the stuff;
"The wage of sin is death" they say, and, sure as we draw breath, they say,
A thing that's true as gospel—for it's proven times enough.
The highbrows may get gay with them but they can't do away with them;
Those dry and dusty slogans will not vanish from our sight.
They're fusty, musty, serious; they bore us and they weary us
But, take 'em all in all, my son, the copybooks are right!





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