THE SILVER QUESTION
by: Oliver Herford (1863-1935)
- HE Sun appeared
so smug and bright,
- One day, that I made bold
- To ask him what he did each night
- With all his surplus gold.
- He flushed uncomfortably red,
- And would not meet my eye.
- "I travel round the world," he said,
- "And traveling rates are high."
- With frigid glance I pierced him through.
- He squirmed and changed his tune.
- Said he: "I will be frank with you:
- I lend it to the Moon.
- "Poor think!--You know she's growing old
- And hasn't any folk.
- She suffers terribly from cold,
- And half the time she's broke."
- That evening on the beach I lay
- Behind a lonely dune,
- And as she rose above the bay
- I buttonholed the Moon.
- "Tell me about that gold," said I.
- I saw her features fall.
- "You see, it's useless to deny;
- The Sun has told me all."
- "Sir!" she exclaimed, "how can you
- An honest Moon this way?
- As for the gold, I put it by
- Against a rainy day."
- I smiled and shook my head. "All right,
- If you must know," said she,
- "I change it into silver bright
- Wherewith to tip the Sea.
- "He is so faithful and so good,
- A most deserving case;
- If he should leave, I fear it would
- Be hard to fill his place."
- When asked if they accepted tips,
- The waves became so rough,
- I thought of those at sea in ships,
- And felt I'd said enough.
- For if one virtue I have learned,
- 'T is tact; so I forbore
- To press the matter, though I burned
- To ask one question more.
- I hate a scene, and do not wish
- To be mixed up in gales,
- But, oh, I longed to ask the Fish
- Whence came their silver scales!
POEMS BY OLIVER HERFORD
"The Silver Question"
is reprinted from A Nonsense Anthology. Ed. Carolyn Wells.
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1915.