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Just a Clerk

From the Omaha Daily Bee, March 13, 1914. By H. J. Maclean.

Lord, I am but a little clerk
    That scratches with a pen;
I rise and eat and toil and sleep,
    Just as all other men.

The only colors in my life
    Are drabs and duns and grays,
Yet on the whole I am content
    To tread the beaten ways.

But sometimes when the midspring mist
    Floats in the scented night,
Strange spirits whisper in my ear,
    And visions cross my sight.

I see myself a gracious youth,
    In purple and bright steel;
The golden spurs of knightly worth
    Are glistening on each heel.

I ride into a world of dreams,
    And with my pennoned lance
I pierce the mystic veil that hides
    The land of high romance.

But as I pass through Galahad’s glades
    Adventuring on my way,
A ghost is ever at my back,
    The ghost of every day.

And soon or late its horrid hand
    That never yields or stays
Will hurl me from my land of dreams,
    Back to its beaten ways.

Oh, Lord, some pray to Thee for gold,
    Some for a woman’s smile;
But all I ask is a breath of life
    Once for a little while.

Grant me, before I pass beyond,
    One chance to play a part,
To drop the guise of the little clerk
    And show the man at heart.

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