Ballade of Suburbia


I’ve never killed a Marquis in a fight,
Nor led a lovely lady’s feet astray,
I’ve never swum the Great Australian Bight,
Nor loitered on the Road to Mandalay.
And yet think not I lack my little day,
And insignificance obscures me quite.
These facts I view without the least dismay;
I may have heard the nightingales last night.

Of course I can’t be certain I was right;
Perhaps it was a blackbird or a jay –
The kitchen tap was running, just for spite,
And in the street a trombone, bray on bray,
Shivered the silence – Really I can’t say.
Was it my hour, or merely Fancy’s flight?
I shall make certain on the Judgment Day.
I may have heard a nightingale last night.

Shakespeare was a meteor blazing bright;
Milton, immortal, though of mortal clay;
England and England’s sons can ne’er require
What Nelson gave ere he went on his way.
All these great men have risen and had their day,
And though my name may never see the light,
Perhaps I’ve had my little part to play.
I think I heard a nightingale last night.


Prince, you have half the East beneath your sway;
Health, wealth are yours, and wisdom, ay and might.
Prince, were they mine I’d throw them all away.
I may have heard a nightingale last night.

School poems