Nebraska Center for Writers

DEAR MR CRITIC
by Frances Cook Steen

I know you’re a hard fellow to please,
And have upset many a plan;
So I’m going to ask you some questions,
So won’t you reply, if you can?

Now why do you scramble our verses,
That we write with poetical pen,
Why do you beat them
And stab and maltreat them,
Do you think you could put them together again?

There’s many a poet been spoiled in the making
By your untimely aid and unmerciful raking.
You twist up the words and harp on the letter,
Do you really think you could do any better?

’Tis the same with the painter of pictures, you know
It has to compare with a “Turner” just so!
And if it does not, it may lie there and rot,
For the “Critic” has smiled and said “No.”

Now the poet and painter are both in their graves,
For they could not make things go,
So they strived in their pride and had to abide
Because Mr. Critic said “No.”

Yes, the poet and painter are now in their graves,
And slumbering peacefully there,
While the “hunter” is rushing from palace and hall
For the work of this painter to hang on his wall.

And the poet’s “poor work” which refused him bread
Is coming to life, tho’ the poet is dead.
And now I would like to ask who’s to blame,
That these artists while living, where knocked out
Of the “game.”

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 1931
by Frances Cook Steen


REFLECTION
by Frances Cook Steen


Here goes the Old Year
And what have I done
To brighten it up for anyone?
Is anyone happier that I am here,
Have I made life brighter
For someone this year?
Have I done what I could to lighten the load
For anyone passing along the same road?
The road may be long
But grows shorter each year,
And then it will end,
And I’ll not be here.
Shall anyone say I have lived it in vain?
If so, I can’t live it over again,
So I’ll begin right now
And try every day
To scatter some sunshine
"Along The Way.”

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 1931
by Frances Cook Steen


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