The Nacreous Oughts

12 February 2006


It was the night before the famous day
When that befell of which I write. The house
Was silent as the dark: nor man nor mouse
Stirred anywhere. The weary children lay
Asleep upstairs, their stockings, after play,
Were hung beside the fire, with Mama’s blouse;
While, meditating on the morrow’s grouse,
I must have dozed my errant wits away.

At any rate, I had a curious dream
In which a little whiskered gnome in red
Came down the chimney with a set of Tennyson,
And perished in the flames. One tiny scream
And he was gone like wax or melted lead....
But for some weeks thereafter we had venison."

--Vincent Starrett (1886--1976)

K. S.

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