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The Traveled Man -- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(Poem #911) The Traveled Man
 Sometimes I wish the railroads all were torn out,
 The ships all sunk among the coral strands.
 I am so very weary, yea, so worn out,
 With tales of those who visit foreign lands.

 When asked to dine, to meet these traveled people,
 My soup seems brewed from cemetery bones.
 The fish grows cold on some cathedral steeple,
 I miss two courses while I stare at thrones.

 I'm forced to leave my salad quite untasted,
 Some musty, moldy temple to explore.
 The ices, fruit and coffee all are wasted
 While into realms of ancient art I soar.

 I'd rather take my chance of life and reason,
 If in a den of roaring lions hurled
 Than for a single year, ay, for one season,
 To dwell with folks who'd traveled round the world.

 So patronizing are they, so oppressive,
 With pity for the ones who stay at home,
 So mighty is their knowledge, so aggressive,
 I ofttimes wish they had not ceased to roam.

 They loathe the new, they quite detest the present;
 They revel in a pre-Columbian morn;
 Just dare to say America is pleasant,
 And die beneath the glances of their scorn.

 They are increasing at a rate alarming,
 Go where I will, the traveled man is there.
 And now I think that rustic wholly charming
 Who has not strayed beyond his meadows fair.
-- Ella Wheeler Wilcox
A straightforward but fun poem - it lacks, perhaps, the biting wit of
Dorothy Parker or the sparkling brilliance of Gilbert, but it flows through
with an easy assurance that makes the narrator's point both well and

The form is interesting - iambic pentameter, but with an extra syllable at
the end of alternate lines (varying feminine and masculine rhymes) that
gives the poem a flowing rhythm quite different from the usual 'formal' use
of the meter.

The only complaint i have against the poem is the weakness of the ending -
it is slightly too abrupt, and does not wrap up the poem well enough, IMO,
although the intent is clear.


  [broken link] has a nice
  biography, with emphasis on her literary output.

  [broken link] is an
  extensive collection of biographies, linked to from the main Wilcox site,
  [broken link]

Minstrels Links:

  Leacock's "Social Plan" is another look at an annoying class of
  individual: poem #789

  The penultimate verse recalls Gilbert's "I've Got a Little List":
    poem #135


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