Ella Wheeler Wilcox (5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)
The Traveled Man
Sometimes I wish the railroads all were torn out,
The ships all sunk among the coral strands.
I am so very weary, yea, so worn out,
With tales of those who visit foreign lands.
When asked to dine, to meet these traveled people,
My soup seems brewed from cemetery bones.
The fish grows cold on some cathedral steeple,
I miss two courses while I stare at thrones.
I'm forced to leave my salad quite untasted,
Some musty, moldy temple to explore.
The ices, fruit and coffee all are wasted
While into realms of ancient art I soar.
I'd rather take my chance of life and reason,
If in a den of roaring lions hurled
Than for a single year, ay, for one season,
To dwell with folks who'd traveled round the world.
So patronizing are they, so oppressive,
With pity for the ones who stay at home,
So mighty is their knowledge, so aggressive,
I ofttimes wish they had not ceased to roam.
They loathe the new, they quite detest the present;
They revel in a pre-Columbian morn;
Just dare to say America is pleasant,
And die beneath the glances of their scorn.
They are increasing at a rate alarming,
Go where I will, the traveled man is there.
And now I think that rustic wholly charming
Who has not strayed beyond his meadows fair.
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