John Godfrey Saxe

(1816-1887 / the United States)

My Familiar - Poem by John Godfrey Saxe

Again I hear that creaking step!--
He's rapping at the door!--
Too well I know the boding sound
That ushers in a bore.
I do not tremble when I meet
The stoutest of my foes,
But Heaven defend me from the friend
Who comes--but never goes!

He drops into my easy chair,
And asks about the news,
He peers into my manuscript,
And gives his candid views;
He tells me where he likes the line,
And where he's forced to grieve;
He takes the strangest liberties,--
But never takes his leave!

He reads my daily paper through
Before I've seen a word;
He scans the lyric (that I wrote),
And thinks it quite absurd;
He calmly smokes my last cigar,
And coolly asks for more;
He opens everything he sees--
Except the entry door!

He talks about his fragile health,
And tells me of the pains
He suffers from a score of ills
Of which he ne'er complains;
And how he struggled once with Death
To keep the fiend at bay;
On themes like those away he goes--
But never goes away!

He tells me of the carping words
Some shallow critic wrote;
And every precious paragraph
Familiarly can quote;
He thinks the writer did me wrong;
He'd like to run him through!
He says a thousand pleasant things--
But never says, 'Adieu!'

Whene'er he comes--that dreadful man--
Disguise it as I may,
I know that, like an Autumn rain,
He'll last throughout the day.
In vain I scowl and pout;
A frown is no extinguisher--
It does not put him out!

I mean to take the knocker off,
Put crape upon the door,
Or hint to John that I am gone
To stay a month or more.
I do not tremble when I meet
The stoutest of my foes,
But Heaven defend me from the friend
Who never, never goes!


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, September 16, 2010



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