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A continuing selection of classic and contemporary poems.

Cinderella

Robert Service

Cinderella in the street
In a ragged gown,
Sloven slippers on her feet,
Shames our tidy town;
Harsh her locks of ashen grey,
Vapour vague her stare,
By the curb this bitter day
Selling papers there.

Cinderella once was sweet,
Fine and lily fair,
Silver slippers on her feet,
Ribands in her hair;
Solid men besought her hand,
Tart was she as quince,
Living in a fairy land,
Waiting for a Prince.

Days went by and years went by,
Wistful wan was she;
Heedless of a mother’s sigh,
Of a lover’s plea;
On her lips a carol gay,
In her heart a dream -
Soon the Prince would come her way,
Gallant and agleam.

Then at last she learned the truth,
How her hope was vain;
Gone her beauty, gone her youth,
Leaving want and pain.
See! she’s waiting all alone;
Hark! you hear her cry
Papers by the cold curb-stone,
Begging you to buy.

Winter winds are waxing chill,
Clouds rack overhead;
Cinderella will be ill,
Bye and bye be dead.
Yet she kept her vision clear,
To Romance was true,
Holding him forever dear
Whom she never knew.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Cinderellas of to-day
Take no chance of loss;
When a good guy comes your way,
Nail him to the cross.
Let some ordinary cuss
Your coy heart convince;
Never miss the nuptial bus
Waiting for a Prince.
Online text © 1998-2014 Poetry X. All rights reserved.
From Rhymes of a Roughneck
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