The poet sits and dreams and dreams;
He scans his verse; he probes his themes.
Then turns to stretch or stir about,
Lest, like his thoughts, his strength give out.
Then off to bed, for he must rise
And cord some wood, or tamp some ties,
Or break a field of fertile soil,
Or do some other manual toil.
He dare not live by wage of pen,
Most poorly paid of poor paid men,
With shoes o’er-run, and threadbare clothes,—
And editors among the foes
Who mock his song, deny him bread,
Then sing his praise when he is dead.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on February 9, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.