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Wild Oats
by [?]


Oh gay young husbandmen would you be sure of a crop
Upspringing rankly, an abundant and bountiful yield?
Go forth in the morning, and sow on your life’s broad field
This pleasantly odorous seed, then smooth the ground on top,
Or leave it rough, with the utmost undeceit,
Never you fear, it will thriftily thrive and grow,
Loading the harvest plain beneath your feet,
With the ripened sheaves of shame, remorse, and woe.

You have but to sow the seed, no care will it want,
For he who soweth tares while the husbandman sleeps
Taketh unwearied pains, a vigilant guard he keeps
Tirelessly watching, and tending each evil plant.
These are his pleasure gardens, leased to him through time
Where he walketh to and fro, chanting a demon song;
Tending with ghastly fingers, the scarlet buds of wrong,
And drinking greedily in the sweet perfume of crime.

And of all the seeds, the one that thriftiest thrives
Is the color of ruby wine, when it flashes high–
Who would think the tiny seed so fair to the eye
Could cast such a deadly shade over countless lives,
And branch out into murder in one springing shoot;
Thrifty branches of sin, bristling with thorns of woe
Shadowing graves where broken hearts lie low,
And minds that were God-like lowered beneath the brute.