Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

A Pin


Oh, I know a certain lady who is reckoned with the good,
Yet she fills me with more terror than a raging lion would.
The little chills run up and down my spine whene’er we meet,
Though she seems a gentle creature, and she’s very trim and neat.

And she has a thousand virtues and not one acknowledged sin,
But she is the sort of person you could liken to a pin.
And she pricks you and she sticks you in a way that can’t be said.
If you seek for what has hurt you – why, you cannot find the head.

But she fills you with discomfort and exasperating pain.
If anybody asks you why, you really can’t explain!
A pin is such a tiny thing, of that there is no doubt,
Yet when it’s sticking in your flesh you’re wretched till it’s out.

She’s wonderfully observing – when she meets a pretty girl,
She is always sure to tell her if her hair is out of curl;
And she is so sympathetic to her friend who’s much admires,
She is often heard remarking, ‘Dear, you look so worn and tired.’

And she is an honest critic, for on yesterday she eyed
The new dress I was airing with a woman’s natural pride,
And she said, ‘Oh, how becoming! ’ and then gently added, ‘it
Is really a misfortune that the basque is such a fit.’

Then she said, ‘If you heard me yester eve, I’m sure, my friend,
You would say I was a champion who knows how to defend.’
And she left me with the feeling – most unpleasant, I aver –
That the whole world would despise me is it hadn’t been for her.

Whenever I encounter her, in such a nameless way
She gives me the impression I am at my worst that day.
And the hat that was imported (and cost me half a sonnet) ,
With just one glance from her round eyes becomes a Bowery bonnet.

She is always bright and smiling, sharp and pointed for a thrust;
Use does not seem to blunt her point, nor does she gather rust.
Oh! I wish some hapless specimen of mankind would begin
To tidy up the world for me, by picking up this pin!

Submitted: Monday, May 26, 2003

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