Ambrose Bierce

(24 June 1842 - 26 December 1913 / Horse Cave Creek, Ohio)

On The Platform - Poem by Ambrose Bierce

When Dr. Bill Bartlett stepped out of the hum
Of Mammon's distracting and wearisome strife
To stand and deliver a lecture on 'Some
Conditions of Intellectual Life,'
I cursed the offender who gave him the hall
To lecture on any conditions at all!

But he rose with a fire divine in his eye,
Haranguing with endless abundance of breath,
Till I slept; and I dreamed of a gibbet reared high,
And Dr. Bill Bartlett was dressing for death.
And I thought in my dream: 'These conditions, no doubt,
Are bad for the life he was talking about.'

So I cried (pray remember this all was a dream):
'Get off of the platform!-it isn't the kind!'
But he fell through the trap, with a jerk at the beam,
And wiggled his toes to unburden his mind.
And, O, so bewitching the thoughts he advanced,
That I clung to his ankles, attentive, entranced!

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 29, 2012

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