Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MY BORES, by JOHN LAWSON STODDARD



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

MY BORES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I take their hands with placid smile
Last Line: With but the few I love and me.
Subject(s): Faces; Life; Love; Nature; Solitude; Loneliness


I take their hands with placid smile
And words which social rules enforce,
Though sadly conscious all the while
Of something very like remorse,
Because beneath the mask I wear
I really wish they were not there.

Their visits I at heart resent;
The half-read volume haunts my thought;
The urgent note remains unsent;
The verse, unfinished, comes to naught;
And all because, on some pretence,
They waste their time at my expense.

Yet no grim misanthrope am I,
Who fears, distrusts, and hates his race;
I merely wish them to pass by,
And seek some other lounging-place;
For, frankly, I should love them more
A little further from my door.

In vain I make no answering calls;
They blandly smile and come again!
Nay, even bring within my walls
More curious strangers in their train,
"Who wished so much your home to see!"
Why do they never think of me?

The few I want I can invite;
Hence why should others thus intrude?
How dare they give themselves the right,
Unasked, to spoil my solitude?
And why presume I care to know
More triflers in their world of show?

Their idle life, on pleasure bent,
Their mania for some silly game,
Their hours in stupid gossip spent, --
Would give me self-contempt and shame;
Between us is no common ground
On which a comradeship to found.

A word or two upon the street
Suffice me with the most of men;
Beyond a greeting, when we meet.
I care not if we speak again;
My books and Nature's charming face
Such human consorts well replace.

Not all, indeed; for who but yearns
To call some kindred heart his own?
Some friend to whom he fondly turns,
And with whom he is still alone,
Since each, while absolutely free,
Respects the other's privacy.

To such his pent-up love o'erflows;
With such his soul's seclusion ends;
For each the other's nature knows,
And every motive comprehends;
So perfectly do both agree,
So close their bond of sympathy!

But those who come to wear away
With me the time they deem a bore,
And blithely rob me of a day
Which God Himself cannot restore --
From such, at risk of being rude,
I will preserve my solitude.

Their vapid visits I refuse;
Their forced attachment I decline;
I surely have the right to choose
The friends, whose lives shall blend with mine;
My bark shall gain the open sea
With but the few I love and me.





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