Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern American Poetry
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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry.  1919.
 
Bliss Carman. 1861–
 
25. Hem and Haw
 
HEM and Haw were the sons of sin, 
Created to shally and shirk; 
Hem lay 'round and Haw looked on 
While God did all the work. 
  
Hem was a fogy, and Haw was a prig,         5
For both had the dull, dull mind; 
And whenever they found a thing to do, 
They yammered and went it blind. 
  
Hem was the father of bigots and bores; 
As the sands of the sea were they.  10
And Haw was the father of all the tribe 
Who criticize to-day. 
  
But God was an artist from the first, 
And knew what he was about; 
While over his shoulder sneered these two,  15
And advised him to rub it out. 
  
They prophesied ruin ere man was made; 
"Such folly must surely fail!" 
And when he was done, "Do you think, my Lord, 
He's better without a tail?"  20
  
And still in the honest working world, 
With posture and hint and smirk, 
These sons of the devil are standing by 
While man does all the work. 
  
They balk endeavor and baffle reform,  25
In the sacred name of law; 
And over the quavering voice of Hem 
Is the droning voice of Haw. 
 
 
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