"The Bust of Carlyle in Deering Library"

    Photo by the author.

    I wish I wasn’t sitting here,
    a lonely marble bust.
    In life I traveled far and near,
    in death I gather dust.

    You see my face is much the same,
    my visage always grim.
    Because I wrote of France aflame,
    her outlook awfully dim.

    Because her peasants cried, “Revolt!”
    and slew their haughty king,
    Whose blood became their wine of “Cult
    of Pungent Rioting.”

    My sculptor knew I sang the stench
    of Enlightenment gone wrong,
    And so my face he made entrench
    that gruesome, vagrant song.

    He never knew that I could love
    some humor in my life:
    I grinned as jolly tumbrels drove
    while urged with drum and fife.

    In women, too, I claimed the luck
    that others often chase—
    Beneath their skirts I’d often duck
    and press their heartbeats’ rising pace.

    All this was kept from dusty pages,
    lost when I was still alive,
    And now my bust deceives the ages.
    Like this I do survive.

    He stole my sentiments that day,
    he took my human race—
    I rue the day he carved away
    the laughter from my face.


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