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Poetry of Joyce Kilmer
Trees and Other Poems

Old Poets

(For Robert Cortez Holliday)

If I should live in a forest
 And sleep underneath a tree,
No grove of impudent saplings
 Would make a home for me.

I'd go where the old oaks gather,
 Serene and good and strong,
And they would not sigh and tremble
 And vex me with a song.

The pleasantest sort of poet
 Is the poet who's old and wise,
With an old white beard and wrinkles
 About his kind old eyes.

For these young flippertigibbets
 A-rhyming their hours away
They won't be still like honest men
 And listen to what you say.

The young poet screams forever
 About his sex and his soul;
But the old man listens, and smokes his pipe,
 And polishes its bowl.

There should be a club for poets
 Who have come to seventy year.
They should sit in a great hall drinking
 Red wine and golden beer.

They would shuffle in of an evening,
 Each one to his cushioned seat,
And there would be mellow talking
 And silence rich and sweet.

There is no peace to be taken
 With poets who are young,
For they worry about the wars to be fought
 And the songs that must be sung.

But the old man knows that he's in his chair
 And that God's on His throne in the sky.
So he sits by the fire in comfort
 And he lets the world spin by.