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Editor's Selection of Poems
To an Ungentle Critic

by Robert Graves

The great sun sinks behind the town   
Through a red mist of Volnay wine....   
But what’s the use of setting down   
That glorious blaze behind the town?   
You’ll only skip the page, you’ll look 
For newer pictures in this book;   
You’ve read of sunsets rich as mine.   
   
A fresh wind fills the evening air   
With horrid crying of night birds....   
But what reads new or curious there
When cold winds fly across the air?   
You’ll only frown; you’ll turn the page,   
But find no glimpse of your “New Age   
Of Poetry” in my worn-out words.   
   
Must winds that cut like blades of steel
And sunsets swimming in Volnay,   
The holiest, cruellest pains I feel,   
Die stillborn, because old men squeal   
For something new: “Write something new:   
We’ve read this poem—that one too,
And twelve more like ’em yesterday”?   
   
No, no! my chicken, I shall scrawl   
Just what I fancy as I strike it,   
Fairies and Fusiliers, and all   
Old broken knock-kneed thought will crawl
Across my verse in the classic way.   
And, sir, be careful what you say;   
There are old-fashioned folk still like it. 
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