Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON A REED, by JAMES STEPHENS

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ON A REED, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I have a reed of oaten straw
Last Line: And throw your wicked halves away!
Subject(s): Musical Instruments; Reeds


I have a reed of oaten straw,
I play upon it when I may;
And the music that I draw
Is as happy as the day.

It has seven holes, and I
Play it high, and play it low;
I can make it laugh, or cry,
Can make or banish joy or woe.

Any song that you can name
I will play it on the word;
Old or new is all the same,
I'm as ready as a bird.


But there is a tune, and though
I try to play it, day and night,
Blowing high, and blowing low,
I can never play it right!

I know it well, without a flaw,
The tune that yet I cannot play
On my reed of oaten straw,
Though I practice night and day!

Penny pipe, be good to me!
And play the tune I want to play,
Or I will smash you on a tree,
And throw your wicked halves away!

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