Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern British Poetry
Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern British Poetry.  1920.
Robert Graves. 1895–
175. A Pinch of Salt
WHEN a dream is born in you 
  With a sudden clamorous pain, 
When you know the dream is true 
  And lovely, with no flaw nor stain, 
O then, be careful, or with sudden clutch         5
You'll hurt the delicate thing you prize so much. 
Dreams are like a bird that mocks, 
  Flirting the feathers of his tail. 
When you seize at the salt-box, 
  Over the hedge you'll see him sail.  10
Old birds are neither caught with salt nor chaff: 
They watch you from the apple bough and laugh. 
Poet, never chase the dream. 
  Laugh yourself, and turn away. 
Mask your hunger; let it seem  15
  Small matter if he come or stay; 
But when he nestles in your hand at last, 
Close up your fingers tight and hold him fast. 

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