Famous Poem

Raymond Garfield Dandridge (1883–1930) was an American poet from Cincinnati, Ohio. Despite being affected by partial paralysis in 1911, which left him bedridden for the remainder of his life, he taught himself to write with his left hand. Influenced by Paul Laurence Dunbar, he often wrote in African-American dialect. In "The Poet," we glimpse the struggles of a poet who must juggle his creative dreams with manual labor to survive. Despite meager pay and criticism from editors, he perseveres, aware that his true worth may only be recognized after his time. This poem sheds light on the challenges faced by poets and the harsh realities they confront while pursuing writing poetry.

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Famous Poem

The Poet


The poet sits and dreams and dreams;
He scans his verse; he probes his themes.

Then turns to stretch or stir about,
Lest, like his thoughts, his strength give out.

Then off to bed, for he must rise
And cord some wood, or tamp some ties,

Or break a field of fertile soil,
Or do some other manual toil.

He dare not live by wage of pen,
Most poorly paid of poor paid men,

With shoes o'er-run, and thread bare clothes,
And editors among the foes

Who mock his song, deny him bread,
Then sing his praise when he is dead.


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