Posts tagged ‘rudolph chambers lehmann’

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

The Last Straw by Rudolph Chambers Lehmann

I sing the sofa! It had stood for years,
An invitation to benign repose,
A foe to all the fretful brood of fears,
Bidding the weary eye-lid sink and close.
Massive and deep and broad it was and bland—
In short the noblest sofa in the land.

You, too, my friend, my solid friend, I sing,
Whom on an afternoon I did behold
Eying—’twas after lunch—the cushioned thing,
And murmuring gently, “Here are realms of gold,
And I shall visit them,” you said, “and be
The sofa’s burden till it’s time for tea.”

“Let those who will go forth,” you said, “and dare,
Beyond the cluster of the little shops,
To strain their limbs and take the eager air,
Seeking the heights of Hedsor and its copse.
I shall abide and watch the far-off gleams
Of fairy beacons from the world of dreams.”

Then forth we fared, and you, no doubt, lay down,
An easy victim to the sofa’s charms,
Forgetting hopes of fame and past renown,
Lapped in those padded and alluring arms.
“How well,” you said, and veiled your heavy eyes,
“It slopes to suit me! This is Paradise.”

So we adventured to the topmost hill,
And, when the sunset shot the sky with red,
Homeward returned and found you taking still
Deep draughts of peace with pillows ‘neath your head.
“His sleep,” said one, “has been unduly long.”
Another said, “Let’s bring and beat the gong.”

“Gongs,” said a third and gazed with looks intent
At the full sofa, “are not adequate.
There fits some dread, some heavy, punishment
For one who sleeps with such a dreadful weight.
Behold with me,” he moaned, “a scene accurst.
The springs are broken and the sofa’s burst!”

Too true! Too true! Beneath you on the floor
Lay blent in ruin all the obscure things
That were the sofa’s strength, a scattered store
Of tacks and battens and protruded springs.
Through the rent ticking they had all been spilt,
Mute proofs and mournful of your weight and guilt.

And you? You slept as sweetly as a child,
And when you woke you recked not of your shame,
But babbled greetings, stretched yourself and smiled
From that eviscerated sofa’s frame,
Which, flawless erst, was now one mighty flaw
Through the addition of yourself as straw.

From: Lehmann, R C, The Vagabond and Other Poems from Punch, 1918, John Lane, The Bodley Head: London, p. 102.
(https://archive.org/details/vagabondotherpoe00lehmuoft/)

Date: 1914

By: Rudolph Chambers Lehmann (1856-1929)