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Best Famous Russell Edson Poems


Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Russell Edson poems. This is a select list of the best famous Russell Edson poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Russell Edson poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Russell Edson poems.

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by Russell Edson |

The Theory

 The big one went to sleep as to die and dreamed he
became a tiny one. So tiny as to have lost all substance. To have
become as theoretical as a point. 

 Then someone said, get up, big one, you're not doing
yourself any good. You puddle and stagnate in your weight.
Best to be up and toward. It irrigates you. 

 What, said the big one, have I not disappeared? Have you
not mistaken a cloud for me? Perhaps some local hill fulfills
your expectation? 

 No, it's no mistake, it's you; those interconnecting puddles
of flesh pulling at your bones, attempting that world-weary fall
toward the great waters of the world. 

 How you manage against gravity is one of the greater
triumphs of nature. 

 Do you think, said the big one, there's a woman who
would like to marry me? 

 Yes, had such a woman done everything in the world except
marry you, she might think it worthy before dying to complete
her catalogue. Or having done everything, go meekly
without decision or care to such a consummation. 

 Then you really feel, said the big one, that this woman
could come to care very deeply for me? 

 All is theoretical. Who knows enough to say the outcome
of any event, save that it was past us, and we saw the back of it
moving slowly into the Universe, seeking other settings to
repeat the fall of fate. . . 

 That sounds wonderful, that a woman like that could be in
love with me, said the big one. 

 But in a few moments the big one was back asleep, dreaming
that he had come to such enlargement that he constituted
all the matter in the Universe, which must include the earth
and the woman he would have loved. . .


by Russell Edson |

Accidents

 The barber has accidentally taken off an ear. It lies like 
something newborn on the floor in a nest of hair.
 Oops, says the barber, but it musn't've been a very good 
ear, it came off with very little complaint.
 It wasn't, says the customer, it was always overly waxed. 
I tried putting a wick in it to burn out the wax, thus to find my 
way to music. But lighting it I put my whole head on fire. It 
even spread to my groin and underarms and to a nearby 
forest. I felt like a saint. Someone thought I was a genius.
 That's comforting, says the barber, still, I can't send you 
home with only one ear. I'll have to remove the other one. But 
don't worry, it'll be an accident.
 Symmetry demands it. But make sure it's an accident, I 
don't want you cutting me up on purpose.
 Maybe I'll just slit your throat.
 But it has to be an accident . . .


by Russell Edson |

Elephant Dormitory

 An elephant went to bed and pulled a crazy quilt up under
its tusks. 

 But just as the great gray head began filling with the gray
wrinkles of sleep it was awakened by the thud of its tail
falling out of bed. 

 Would you get my tail? said the elephant to another
elephant also tucked up under a crazy quilt. 

 I was just in the gray wrinkles of my sleep, sighed the other
elephant. 

 But I can't sleep without my tail, said the first elephant, I
like it stuck just above my anus; I feel more secure that way,
that it holds my anus from drifting out to heaven.


by Russell Edson |

Mr. Brain

 Mr Brain was a hermit dwarf who liked to eat shellfish off 
the moon. He liked to go into a tree then because there is a 
little height to see a little further, which may reveal now the 
stone, a pebble--it is a twig, it is nothing under the moon that 
you can make sure of.
 So Mr Brain opened his mouth to let a moonbeam into his head. 

 Why to be alone, and you invite the stars to tea. A cup of 
tea drinks a luminous guest. 

 In the winter could you sit quietly by the window, in the 
evening when you could have vinegar and pretend it to be 
wine, because you would do well to eat doughnuts and 
pretend you drink wine as you sit quietly by the window. You 
may kick your leg back and forth. You may have a tendency 
to not want to look there too long and turn to find darkness in 
the room because it had become nighttime. 

 Why to be alone. You are pretty are you not/you are as 
pretty as you are not, or does that make sense.
 You are not pretty, that is how you can be alone. And 
then you are pretty like fungus and alga, you are no one 
without some one, in theory alone. 

 Be good enough to go to bed so you can not think too 
much longer.


by Russell Edson |

The Pilot

 Up in a dirty window in a dark room is a star 
which an old man can see. He looks at it. He can 
see it. It is the star of the room; an electrical 
freckle that has fallen out of his head and gotten 
stuck in the dirt on the window.

 He thinks he can steer by that star. He thinks he 
can use the back of a chair as a ship's wheel to 
pilot his room through the night.

 He says to himself, brave Captain, are you afraid?

 Yes, I am afraid; I am not so brave.

 Be brave, my Captain.

 And all night the old man steers his room through 
the dark . . .


by Russell Edson |

The Family Monkey

 We bought an electric monkey, experimenting rather 
recklessly with funds carefully gathered since 
grandfather's time for the purchase of a steam monkey. 

We had either, by this time, the choice of an electric 
or gas monkey. 

The steam monkey is no longer being made, said the monkey 
merchant. 

But the family always planned on a steam monkey. 

Well, said the monkey merchant, just as the wind-up monkey 
gave way to the steam monkey, the steam monkey has given way 
to the gas and electric monkeys. 

Is that like the grandfather clock being replaced by the 
grandchild clock? 

Sort of, said the monkey merchant. 

So we bought the electric monkey, and plugged its umbilical 
cord into the wall. 

The smoke coming out of its fur told us something was wrong. 

We had electrocuted the family monkey.


by Russell Edson |

On The Eating Of Mice

 A woman prepared a mouse for her husband's dinner,
roasting it with a blueberry in its mouth. 

 At table he uses a dentist's pick and a surgeon's scalpel,
bending over the tiny roastling with a jeweler's loupe . . . 

 Twenty years of this: curried mouse, garlic and butter
mouse, mouse sauteed in its own fur, Salisbury mouse,
mouse-in-the-trap, baked in the very trap that killed it,
mouse tartare, mouse poached in menstrual blood at the full
of the moon . . . 

 Twenty years of this, eating their way through the
mice . . . And yet, not to forget, each night, one less vermin
in the world . . .


by Russell Edson |

The Father Of Toads

 A man had just delivered a toad from his wife's armpit. He 
held it by its legs and spanked it. 

 Do you love it? said his wife. 

 It's our child, isn't it? 

 Does that mean you can't love it? she said. 

 It's hard enough to love a toad, but when it turns out to be 
your own son then revulsion is without any tender inhibition, 
he said. 

 Do you mean you would not like to call it George Jr.? 
she said. 

 But we've already called the other toad that, he said. 

 Well, perhaps we could call the other one George Sr., 
she said. 

 But I am George Sr., he said. 

 Well, perhaps if you hid in the attic, so that no one needed 
to call you anything, there would be no difficulty in calling 
both of them George, she said. 

 Yes, if no one talks to me, then what need have I for a name? 
he said. 

 No, no one will talk to you for the rest of your life. And 
when we bury you we shall put Father of Toads on your 
tombstone.


by Russell Edson |

Angels

 They have little use. They are best as objects of torment.
No government cares what you do with them.

Like birds, and yet so human . . .
They mate by briefly looking at the other.
Their eggs are like white jellybeans.

Sometimes they have been said to inspire a man
to do more with his life than he might have.
But what is there for a man to do with his life?

. . . They burn beautifully with a blue flame.

When they cry out it is like the screech of a tiny hinge; 
the cry of a bat. No one hears it . . .


by Russell Edson |

The Pattern

 A women had given birth to an old man.

 He cried to have again been caught in the pattern.

 Oh well, he sighed as he took her breast to his mouth.

 The woman is happy to have her baby, even if it is old.

 Probably it got mislaid in the baby place, and when they 
found it and saw that it was a little too ripe, they said, 
well, it is good enough for this woman who is almost 
deserving of nothing.

 She wonders if she is the only mother with a baby old 
enough to be her father.