The Ballade Of The Average Reader

I try to touch the public taste,
  For thus I earn my daily bread.
I try to write what folks will paste
  In scrap books after I am dead.
  By Public Craving I am led.
(I' sooth, a most despotic leader)
  Yet, though I write for Tom and Ned,
I've never seen an average reader.

The Editor is good and chaste,
  But says: (Above the public's head;
This is _too_ good; 'twill go to waste.
  Write something commonplacer-
  Ed.)
  Write for the average reader, fed
By pre-digested near-food's feeder,
  But though my high ideals have fled,
I've never _seen_ an average reader.

How many lines have been erased!
  How many fancies have been shed!
How many failures might be traced
  To this-this average-reader dread!
  I've seen an average single bed;
I've seen an average garden-weeder;
  I've seen an average cotton thread-
I've _never_ seen an average _reader_.

L'ENVOI

Most read of readers, if you've read
  The works of any old succeeder,
You know that he, too, must have said:
  'I've never seen an Average Reader.'

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"The Ballade Of The Average Reader" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 23 Feb. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/14164/the-ballade-of-the-average-reader>.

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