Aesthetic Realism Online Library Poetry by Eli Siegel

No Reader Attending

Many a Victorian novelist,

Her books unread, is not missed.

And this goes for lovers who kissed

Within these novels, so ill known.

The heroine is there, alone,

In a double sense, her loneliness not seen

By any reader of these days.

Novelists and characters

Are somewhere on their own,

Unattended by turning pages,

Turned by readers.

The hero is serene,

Unaccompanied. There is no praise,

For there's none to give it. Whatever assuages

The grief of heroine is not found out.

And we know nothing of the lout,

Wealthy and titled, a father meant

The heroine to marry. Absent

Readers might as well be acquiescent.

Unhappy middle, happy ending—

Faugh! it doesn't matter. There's no reader attending.