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Master Of Three Arts

Ambrose Bierce 1842 (Meigs County) – 1914 (Chihuahua)



Your various talents, Goldenson, command
Respect: you are a poet and can draw.
It is a pity that your gifted hand
Should ever have been raised against the law.
If you had drawn no pistol, but a picture,
You would have saved your throttle from a stricture.

About your poetry I'm not so sure:
'Tis certain we have much that's quite as bad,
Whose hardy writers have not to endure
The hangman's fondling. It is said they're mad:
Though lately Mr. Brooks (I mean the poet)
Looked well, and if demented didn't show it.

Well, Goldenson, I am a poet, too
Taught by the muses how to smite the harp
And lift the tuneful voice, although, like you
And Brooks, I sometimes flat and sometimes sharp.
But let me say, with no desire to taunt you,
I never murder even the girls I want to.

I hold it one of the poetic laws
To sing of life, not take. I've ever shown
A high regard for human life because
I have such trouble to support my own.
And you-well, you'll find trouble soon in blowing
Your private coal to keep it red and glowing.

I fancy now I see you at the Gate
Approach St. Peter, crawling on your belly,
You cry: 'Good sir, take pity on my state
Forgive the murderer of Mamie Kelly!'
And Peter says: 'O, that's all right-but, mister,
You scribbled rhymes. In Hell I'll make you blister!'

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:15 min read
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Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. more…

All Ambrose Bierce poems | Ambrose Bierce Books

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