Bricks and Straw

By Franklin Pierce Adams 1881–1960 Franklin Pierce Adams
My desk is cleared of the litter of ages;
Before me glitter the fair white pages;
My fountain pen is clean and filled,
And the noise of the office has long been stilled.
Roget’s Thesaurus is at my hand,
And I’m ready to do some work that’s grand,
Dignified, eminent, great, momentous,
Memorable, worthy of note, portentous,
Beautiful, paramount, vital, prime,
Stirring, eventful, august, sublime.
For this is the way, I have read and heard,
That authors look for the fitting word.
All of the proud ingredients mine
To build, like Marlowe, the mighty line.
But never a line from my new-filled pen
That couldn’t be done by a child of ten.
Oh, how did Shelley and how did Keats
Weave magic words on the fair white sheets
Under conditions that, were they mine,
I couldn’t bear? And I’d just resign.
Yet Milton wrote passable literature
Under conditions I couldn’t endure.
Coleridge and Chatterton did their stuff
Over a road that I’d christen rough.
Wordsworth and—soft!—could it be that they
Waited until they had something to say?

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Franklin Pierce Adams 1881–1960

Subjects Humor & Satire, Poetry & Poets, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Couplet

Biography

Franklin P. Adams, or F. P. A. as he was known to his readers, was best known for his witty and satirical column "The Conning Tower," which was syndicated in the New York Tribune, the New York World, the New York Herald Tribune and the New York Post. In his column, to which he had a cult-like following, Adams wrote limericks, puns, and satirical prose to dissect political events, review books and plays, and parody the age. A . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Humor & Satire, Poetry & Poets, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Couplet

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.