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Careers
by
Robert Graves


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Father is quite the greatest poet
That ever lived anywhere.
You say you're going to write great music,
 
I chose that first: it's unfair.
Besides, now I can't be the greatest painter and
        do Christ and angels, or lovely pears
        and apples and grapes on a green dish,
        or storms at sea, or anything lovely,
Because that's been taken by Claire.

It's stupid to be an engine-driver,
And soldiers are horrible men.
I won't be a tailor, I won't be a sailor,
And gardener's taken by Ben.
It's unfair if you say that you'll write great
        music, you horrid, you unkind (I simply
        loathe you, though you are my
        sister), you beast, cad, coward, cheat,
        bully, liar!
Well? Say what's left for me then!
But
 we won't go to your ugly music.
(Listen!) Ben will garden and dig,
And Claire will finish her wondrous pictures
All flaming and splendid and big.

And I'll be a perfectly marvellous carpenter,
        and I'll make cupboards and benches
        and tables and ... and baths, and
        nice wooden boxes for studs and
        money,
And you'll be jealous, you pig!

This poem is in the public domain.

 

 

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Robert Graves (1895-1985) was a poet, novelist, mythographer, critic, translator, and historian. Born in Wimbledon, he lived most of his life in Deià, Mallorca. Best known for his war poetry and his novel, I,Claudius, much of Robert’s work has never been out of print. He survived three near-death experiences, was friends with celebrities ranging from T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) to Ava Gardner, and his personal life reads like pure pulp fiction; but it's Robert's body of more than 140 works that will cause him to be remembered as one of the twentieth century’s most significant writers.

 

 


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