Padraic Colum

(8 December 1881 – 11 January 1972 / County Longford)

The Toy-Maker - Poem by Padraic Colum

I AM the Toy-maker; I have brought from the town
As much in my plack as should fetch a whole crown,
I'll array for you now my stock of renown
And man's the raree will show you.

Here's a horse that is rearing to bound through the smoke
Of cannon and musket, and, face to that ruck,
The horseman with sword ready-held for the stroke,
Lord Lucan, maybe, or Prince Charlie.

An old woman sitting and waiting for call,
With her baskets of cockles and apples and all;
A one-legged sailor attending a ball,
And a tailor and nailer busy.

Or would you have these? A goose ganging by,
With head up in challenge to all who come nigh;
A cock with a comb dangling over his eye,
And a hen on a clutch nicely sitting;

Or a duck that is chasing a quick thing around,
Or a crow that is taking three hops on the ground,
Or an ass with head down (he is held in a pound);
Or a fox with his tail curled around him?

A ship made of shells that have sheen of the sea,
All ready to sail for black Barbarie,
The Lowlands of Holland, or High Germanic
And who'll be the one that will steer her?

I'll speak of my trade: there's a day beyond day
When the hound needn't hunt and the priest needn't pray,
And the clerk needn't write, and the hen needn't lay,
Whence come all the things that I show you.

I am the Toy-maker; upon the town wall
My crib is high up; I have down-look on all,
And coach and wheelbarrow I carve in my stall,
Making things with no troubles in them.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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