Lines from a Plutocratic Poetaster to a Ditch-digger

By Franklin Pierce Adams 1881–1960 Franklin Pierce Adams
Sullen, grimy, labouring person,
      As I passed you in my car,
I could sense your muffled curse on
      It and me and my cigar;
And though mute your malediction,
      I could feel it on my head,
As in countless works of fiction
            I have read.

Envy of mine obvious leisure
      Seemed to green your glittering eye;
Hate for mine apparent pleasure
      Filled you as I motored by.
You who had to dig for three, four
      Hours in that unpleasant ditch,
Loathed, despised, and hated me for
            Being rich.

And you cursed me into Hades
      As you envied me that ride
With the loveliest of ladies
      Sitting at my dexter side;
And your wish, or your idea,
      Was to hurl us off some cliff.
I could see that you thought me a
            Lucky stiff.

If you came to the decision,
      As my car you mutely cussed,
That allottment and division
      Are indecently unjust—
Labouring man, however came you
      Thus to think the world awry,
I should be the last to blame you …
            So do I.

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

Poet Franklin Pierce Adams 1881–1960

Subjects Social Commentaries, Class, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Activities, Jobs & Working

Poetic Terms Dramatic Monologue, Rhymed Stanza

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 Social Commentaries, Class, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Activities, Jobs & Working

Poetic Terms Dramatic Monologue, Rhymed Stanza

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.