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The Mind That Overlapped

From the Rock Island Argus, April 10, 1914. By Henry Howland.

He started writing verses that were easily understood,
And here and there was some person who told him that they were good;
He dealt with themes that were common, his language was plain and strong,
And a few people frankly told him he was blessed with the gift of song.

He began to throw in italics, haphazard, it may be said,
And here and there was a foot-note to enlighten the ones who read.
And here and there was a stanza too deep for the common kind;
The people began to marvel at the mightiness of his mind.

He dropped the common, adopting an allegorical style,
And the critics had to interpret his meaning, after a while.
And the people were filled with wonder, not understanding a bit,
And the poet had fame and riches and fancied that he was it.

His meaning got deeper and deeper, till even the critics themselves
Were stumped if they read without taking their reference books from the shelves.
And his glory kept growing and spreading, he was hailed as a prophet, indeed;
Whenever he wrote a new poem, six nations stopped working to read.

Thus, filled with thoughts of his greatness and scorning the simple ways,
He wound and criss-crossed and doubled in a metaphorical maze.
Till clutching his brow, he read slowly his latest, and said with a sigh,
“It’s so deep that I can’t understand it—my God, what a wonder am I!”

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