THE GOMBEEN MAN
 Joseph Campbell

Behind a web of bottles, bales,
Tobacco, sugar, coffin nails
The gombeen like a spider sits,
Surfeited; and, for all his wits,
As meagre as the tally-board
On which his usuries are scored.
The mountain people come and go
For wool to weave or seed to sow,
White flour to bake a wedding cake,
Red spirits for a stranger's wake.
No man can call his soul his own
Who has the Devil's spoon on loan.
And so behind his web of bales,
Horse halters, barrels, pucan sails
The gombeen like a spider sits,
Surfeited; and for all his wits,
As poor as one who never knew
The treasure of the early dew.

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