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The Hat

A Cento Poem by Beverly Stock.


Now how I came to get this hat, ‘tis very strange and funny,

Grandfather died and left it to me, his property and money.

And when the will it was read out, they told me straight and flat,

If I would have his money, I must always wear his hat.


Now I came home to my flat I hung my coat, tossed my hat,

Hearing no response, I said “Where’s my wifey at?”

A note on the table I spied, I read it at once and cried.

It said, “Louis dear, it’s too slow here, so I have gone for a ride.”


If I look for her in the opera house amid the opera season,

There’s someone sure to shout at me without the slightest reason

What if she’s at the chowder club to have a jolly spree?

If I look, someone in the group is sure to shout at me.


Alas, her pretty dresses that hung up in the hall,

None were left, she had up and taken them all.

She took all my rings and the rest of my things,

But not my portrait she’d hung on the wall.





Where Did You Get That Hat, included the words and music of Joseph J. Sullivan, 1888, a black-face comedian-song-and-dance man. Needing inspiration for a floundering career, he found and wore an ill-fitting hat, and created a story and music from the odd comments his neighbors made. The song was an instant hit and became a standard song of humor.


Meet Me In St. Louis, Louis, was the work of Andrew B. Sterling, lyrics, and Frederick Allen Mills, music. They applied their talents to the theme of the 1904 World’s Fair and its popularity, and the song’s success exceeded the composer’s expectations.


This poem is a Cento which combines from lyrics from both titles, published in the American Song Treasury, a volume of songs in the public domain, by Dover Publications.


Beverly Stock is an American poet living in St. Louis. Her work has been published on ClassicalPoets.org, at theChainedMuse.com, on Persimmontree.Org, and on the Webzine Lighten Up Online.

The Hat

© 2019 Beverly Stock


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