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POEM OF THE DAY

THE BALD-HEADED TYRANT

O the quietest home in earth had I,
    No thought of trouble, no hint of care;
Like a dream of pleasure the days fled by,
    And Peace had folded her pinions there.
But one day there joined in our household band
A bald-headed tyrant from No-man's-land.

Oh, the despot came in the dead of night,
    And no one ventured to ask him why;
Like slaves we trembled before his might,
    Our hearts stood still when we heard him cry;
For never a soul could his power withstand,
That bald-headed tyrant from No-man's-land.

He ordered us here, and he sent us there--
    Though never a word could his small lips speak--
With his toothless gums and his vacant stare,
    And his helpless limbs so frail and weak,
Till I cried, in a voice of stern command,
"Go up, thou bald-head from No-man's-land!"

But his abject slaves they turned on me;
    Like the bears in Scripture, they'd rend me there,
The while they worshiped with bended knee
    This ruthless wretch with the missing hair;
For he rules them all with relentless hand,
This bald-headed tyrant from No-man's-land.

Then I searched for help in every clime,
    For peace had fled from my dwelling now,
Till I finally thought of old Father Time,
    And low before him I made my bow.
"Wilt thou deliver me out of his hand,
This bald-headed tyrant from No-man's-land?"

Old Time he looked with a puzzled stare,
    And a smile came over his features grim.
"I'll take the tyrant under my care:
    Watch what my hour-glass does to him.
The veriest humbug that ever was planned
Is this same bald-head from No-man's-land."

Old Time is doing his work full well--
    Much less of might does the tyrant wield;
But, ah! with sorrow my heart will swell,
    And sad tears fall as I see him yield.
Could I stay the touch of that shriveled hand,
I would keep the bald-head from No-man's-land.

For the loss of peace I have ceased to care;
    Like other vassals, I've learned, forsooth,
To love the wretch who forgot his hair
    And hurried along without a tooth,
And he rules me too with his tiny hand,
This bald-headed tyrant from No-man's-land.

                                                 Mary E. Vandyne.

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