Franklin P. Adams

(15 November 1881 – 23 March 1960 / Chicago, Illinois)

Present Imperative - Poem by Franklin P. Adams

Horace: Book I, Ode 11

"Tu ne quaesieris--scire nefas
--quem mihi; quem tibi--"


Nay querry not, Leuconoë, the finish of the fable;
Eliminate the worry as to what the years may hoard!
You only waste your time upon the Babylonian Table--
(Slang for the ouija board).

And as to whether Jupiter, the final, unsurpassed one,
May add a lot of winters to our portion here below,
Or this impinging season is to be our very last one--
Really, I'd hate to know.

Apply yourself to wisdom! Sweep the floor and wash the dishes,
Nor dream about the things you'll do in 1928!
My counsel is to cease to sit and yearn about your wishes,
Cursing the throws of fate.

My! how I have been chattering on matters sad and pleasant!
(Endure with me a moment while I polish off a rhyme).
If I were you, I think, I'd bother only with the present--
Now is the only time.

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Read poems about / on: ode, hate, fate, sad, dream, time

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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