A Commonplace Song

George Essex Evans 1863 (London) – 1909 (Toowoomba)



Ebbs and flows the restless river
In the city street
Where the great nerve centres quiver,
Where the pulses beat.
Where the human waves are driving
Drifts a woman’s face,
White and worn by ceaseless striving
With the commonplace.
Want has written strange inscriptions
On the brow and cheek;
Pain could weave some weird descriptions
If the lips would speak;
Toil has touched the lines of beauty
And, the curves of grace.
Comeliness is good, but duty
Rules the commonplace.

Thick-soled shoes and shabby bonnet,
Dingy cotton gloves,
Old turned dress with darns upon it
(Not what woman loves),
Gaunt umbrella, green with weather—
One must self efface
To keep home and bairns together
In the commonplace.

Late and early, never shirking
Tub and scrub and broom,
Late at night with needle working
In the dwelling-room;
Yet when week’s receipts are thinner
Grocers’ bills to face—
Tenpence means three children’s dinner
In the commonplace!

Poets sing their wild Iambics—
Love and War and Gods—
Let us sing of humble women
Fighting fearful odds,
Not where steel and bullets rattle
And the squadrons race,
But the grim unending battle
With the commonplace.

Now they shriek the creeds are dying!
Faith is of the air!
Wailfully their lyres are sighing
Sonnets of despair!
All the scheme of things evolving
Somehow out of Space!
Darken then, instead of solving,
This grim commonplace!

Rogues may win success and glory,
Beauty pride of fame,
Statesmen make a nation’s story,
Poets deathless name.
But the patient woman Toiler
What is hers to win?
On the one hand—Want, the Spoiler,
On the other—Sin!

Ye who swear and strut and bluster,
So-called manly pride,
When you answer at the muster
On the other side,
Will the courage you have vaunted
Stand you in such grace
As weak hands that fought undaunted
With the commonplace?

Noblest worth works ever humbly,
Oftest is unseen,
Half the world is toiling dumbly
In the gray routine.
Sing, O Poet of the Morrow!
Cheer the weary face
Where brave women moil and sorrow
In the commonplace!

Font size:
Collection  PDF     
 

Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on April 21, 2023

1:43 min read
102

Quick analysis:

Scheme ababcdcDefefgdgd xhxhadaD ciciadaD djxjkdkD clclcdcd gmgmanan aoaopdpD gqkqrdrD
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 1,984
Words 345
Stanzas 8
Stanza Lengths 16, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8

George Essex Evans

George Essex Evans was an Australian poet. more…

All George Essex Evans poems | George Essex Evans Books

0 fans

Discuss the poem A Commonplace Song with the community...

0 Comments

    Translation

    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "A Commonplace Song" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 20 May 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/14942/a-commonplace-song>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    May 2024

    Poetry Contest

    Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.
    11
    days
    15
    hours
    35
    minutes

    Special Program

    Earn Rewards!

    Unlock exciting rewards such as a free mug and free contest pass by commenting on fellow members' poems today!

    Browse Poetry.com

    Quiz

    Are you a poetry master?

    »
    In poetry, the word "foot" refers to _______.
    A a unit of 12 lines
    B a dozen poems
    C one stanza
    D two or more syllables