10/12/14

Poems: Some Wishes at Xmas

Mince-Pies grant Wishes: let each name his Prize,
But as for us, we wish for more Mince-Pies.

                  MR. EPSTEIN

     What wish has Epstein's art portrayed?
       Toward what does Rima rise?
     Those little hands were never made
       To tear out eagles' eyes:
     She for Green Mansions yearns; but not
     So green a mansion as she got.

                  DEAN INGE

What deep desires inspire the Gloomy Dean,
While Rima chants The Wearing of the Green?
Does he have childlike hopes at Christmas time
And sing a carol or a nursery rhyme?
Does he hang up a stocking—or a gaiter—
Or ask for gifts from any Alma Mater?
(Tell me, do Matthew, Mark, and Luke and John
Bless beds the Higher Critics lie upon?
Or if, while the Fourth Gospel is re-read,
"Synoptists" sleep on a three-cornered bed).
Or, like the Deutero-Job, who far away
On his interpolated ash-heap lay,
Damns he the day whereon his body and soul
Escaped the vigilance of Birth-Control ?
Or, softened while the herald angel sings,
Does he more mildly wish for lesser things
That warning cracks, marking the house that falls,
Should decorate St. Peter's, not St. Paul's;
Or wish in all good faith to friends held dear
A Gloomy Christmas and a Glum New Year?
A Merry Christmas to a Merrier Dean!
Whatever he may want, whatever mean,
He won't be happy till he gets it; when
He does, perhaps he won't be happy then.

       *      *      *      *      *      *       *     * 

                  A LADY M.P.

She wants a new England, more bright and more clean,
Where foul tap-room revelries never are seen.
And after the quarter-staff flies the quart-pot,
For she wants a new England where these things are not,
And our love of old England is vain in her sight,
As the noise of blind drunkards that strive in the night,
As if our old England like fable could fade,
And a Puritan purge through the ages had made
A Shaker of Shakespeare, a grave man of Gay,
And a Pussyfoot Johnson with Boswell to play.
For she wants a new England, where censors and prigs
Can browbeat our jokes and can bridle our jigs.
The title is apt, and the tale is soon told,
She wants a New England, three hundred years old. 

       *      *      *      *      *      *       *     *

                 THE COMMUNISTS

         There are two normal nuisances
            That stir us late or soon:
          One is the man who wants the earth,
             The other wants the moon.
          Choosing between these last and Jix,
            We much prefer the lunatics.

       *      *      *      *      *      *       *     *

                           JIX

         Since Christmas time brings charity
           For Jix and for the Kaiser,
         We wish that they were wise enough
           To wish that they were wiser.

~G.K. Chesterton