Father is quite the greatest poet
by Robert Graves
That ever lived anywhere.
You say you’re going to write great music—
I chose that first: it’s unfair.
Besides, now I can’t be the greatest painter and
do Christ and angels, or lovely pears
and apples and grapes on a green dish,
or storms at sea, or anything lovely,
Because that’s been taken by Claire.
It’s stupid to be an engine-driver,
And soldiers are horrible men.
I won’t be a tailor, I won’t be a sailor,
And gardener’s taken by Ben.
It’s unfair if you say that you’ll write great
music, you horrid, you unkind (I sim-
ply loathe you, though you are my
sister), you beast, cad, coward, cheat,
Well? Say what’s left for me then!
But we won’t go to your ugly music.
(Listen!) Ben will garden and dig,
And Claire will finish her wondrous pictures
All flaming and splendid and big.
And I’ll be a perfectly marvellous carpenter,
and I’ll make cupboards and benches
and tables and ... and baths, and
nice wooden boxes for studs and
And you’ll be jealous, you pig!