To an Ungentle Critic

By Robert Graves 1895–1985 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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Poet Robert Graves 1895–1985

POET’S REGION England

Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets, Humor & Satire

Poetic Terms Epistle, Rhymed Stanza

 Robert  Graves

Biography

Robert Graves often stirred controversy in his endeavors as a poet, novelist, critic, mythographer, translator, and editor. Stephen Spender in the New York Times Book Review characterized Graves as a free thinker: "All of his life Graves has been indifferent to fashion, and the great and deserved reputation he has is based on his individuality as a poet who is both intensely idiosyncratic and unlike any other contemporary poet . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets, Humor & Satire

POET’S REGION England

Poetic Terms Epistle, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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