Backblock Ballads and Later Verses

My Poor Relation

C.J. Dennis

I have a poor relation, but
    He never troubles me.
He’s bowed with care; he wears an air
    Of abject misery.
Yet, I am happy to relate,
He never is importunate.

I meet him often in the street;
    Sometimes he speaks to me;
I know, indeed, he is in need—
    That’s very plain to see.
Yet, tho’ he is in want, I own
He never asks me for a loan.

His cuffs are frayed around the edge;
    His hat’s a sight to see;
His coat is torn; his pants are worn,
    And baggy at the knee.
Yet, tho’ his need is manifest,
He never brings me one request.

I know he often wants for food,
    His tradesmen are unpaid,
His life’s accurst with one large thirst
    That never is allayed.
Yet, ne’er by hint or sign does he
Suggest that it is “up to me.”

Is he too proud?    Well, truly, no;
    To beg he’s not ashamed.
Yet, his neglect in that respect,
    Is scarcely to be blamed.
In fact he knows full well, you see,
That I am just as poor as he.

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