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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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Written by Russell Edson |


 Out of nothing there comes a time called childhood, which 
is simply a path leading through an archway called 
A small town there, past the arch called youth.
Soon, down the road, where one almost misses the life lived beyond the flower, is a small shack labeled, you.
And it is here the future lives in the several postures of arm on windowsill, cheek on this; elbows on knees, face in the hands; sometimes the head thrown back, eyes staring into the ceiling .
This into nothing down the long day's arc .

Written by Russell Edson |

One Lonely Afternoon

 Since the fern can't go to the sink for a drink of
water, I graciously submit myself to the task, bringing two
glasses from the sink.
And so we sit, the fern and I, sipping water together.
Of course I'm more complex than a fern, full of deep thoughts as I am.
But I lay this aside for the easy company of an afternoon friendship.
I don't mind sipping water with a fern, even though, had I my druthers, I'd be speeding through the sky for Stockholm, sipping a bloody mary with a wedge of lime.
And so we sit one lonely afternoon sipping water together.
The fern looking out of its fronds, and I, looking out of mine .

Written 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.

More great poems below...

Written by Russell Edson |


 You haven't finished your ape, said mother to father, 
who had monkey hair and blood on his whiskers.
I've had enough monkey, cried father.
You didn't eat the hands, and I went to all the trouble to make onion rings for its fingers, said mother.
I'll just nibble on its forehead, and then I've had enough, said father.
I stuffed its nose with garlic, just like you like it, said mother.
Why don't you have the butcher cut these apes up? You lay the whole thing on the table every night; the same fractured skull, the same singed fur; like someone who died horribly.
These aren't dinners, these are post-mortem dissections.
Try a piece of its gum, I've stuffed its mouth with bread, said mother.
Ugh, it looks like a mouth full of vomit.
How can I bite into its cheek with bread spilling out of its mouth? cried father.
Break one of the ears off, they're so crispy, said mother.
I wish to hell you'd put underpants on these apes; even a jockstrap, screamed father.
Father, how dare you insinuate that I see the ape as anything more thn simple meat, screamed mother.
Well what's with this ribbon tied in a bow on its privates? screamed father.
Are you saying that I am in love with this vicious creature? That I would submit my female opening to this brute? That after we had love on the kitchen floor I would put him in the oven, after breaking his head with a frying pan; and then serve him to my husband, that my husband might eat the evidence of my infidelity .
? I'm just saying that I'm damn sick of ape every night, cried father.

Written by Russell Edson |

The Changeling

 A man had a son who was an anvil.
And then sometimes he was an automobile tire.
I do wish you would sit still, said the father.
Sometimes his son was a rock.
I realize that you have quite lost boundary, where no excess seems excessive, nor to where poverty roots hunger to need.
But should you allow time to embrace you to its bosom of dust, that velvet sleep, then were you served even beyond your need; and desire in sate was properly spilling from its borders, said the father.
Then his son became the corner of a room.
Don't don't, cried the father.
And then his son became a floorboard.
Don't don't, the moon falls there and curdles your wits into the grain of the wood, cried the father.
What shall I do? screamed his son.
Sit until time embraces you into the bosom of its velvet quiet, cried the father.
Like this? Cried his son as his son became dust.
Ah, that is more pleasant, and speaks well of him, who having required much in his neglect of proper choice, turns now, on good advice, to a more advantageous social stance, said the father.
But then his son became his father.
Behold, the son is become as one of us, said the father.
His son said, behold, the son is become as one of us.
Will you stop repeating me, screamed the father.
Will you stop repeating me, screamed his son.
Oh well, I suppose imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, sighed the father.
Oh well, I suppose imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, sighed his son.

Written by Russell Edson |

The Melting

 An old woman likes to melt her husband.
She puts him in a melting device, and he pours out the other end in a hot bloody syrup, which she catches in a series of little husband molds.
What splatters on the floor the dog licks up.
When they have set she has seventeen little husbands.
One she throws to the dog because the genitals didn't set right; too much like a vulva because of an air bubble.
Then there are sixteen naked little husbands standing in a row across the kitchen table.
She diddles them and they produce sixteen little erections.
She thinks she might melt her husband again.
She likes melting him.
She might pour him into an even smaller series of husband molds .

Written by Russell Edson |

Ape And Coffee

 Some coffee had gotten on a man's ape.
The man said, animal did you get on my coffee? No no, whistled the ape, the coffee got on me.
You're sure you didn't spill on my coffee? said the man.
Do I look like a liquid? peeped the ape.
Well you sure don't look human, said the man.
But that doesn't make me a fluid, twittered the ape.
Well I don' know what the hell you are, so just stop it, cried the man.
I was just sitting here reading the newspaper when you splashed coffee all over me, piped the ape.
I don't care if you are a liquid, you just better stop splashing on things, cried the man.
Do I look fluid to you? Take a good look, hooted the ape.
If you don't stop I'll put you in a cup, screamed the man.
I'm not a fluid, screeched the ape.
Stop it, stop it, screamed the man, you are frightening me.

Written 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.

Written by Russell Edson |

The Philosophers

 I think, therefore I am, said a man whose mother quickly 
hit him on the head, saying, I hit my son on the head, 
therefore I am.
No no, you've got it all wrong, cried the man.
So she hit him on the head again and cried, therefore I am.
You're not, not that way; you're supposed to think, not hit, cried the man.
I think, therefore I am, said the man.
I hit, therefore we both are, the hitter and the one who gets hit, said the man's mother.
But at this point the man had ceased to be; unconscious he could not think.
But his mother could.
So she thought, I am, and so is my unconscious son, even if he doesn't know it .

Written by Russell Edson |

The Sad Message

 The Captain becomes moody at sea.
He's afraid of water; such bully amounts that prove the seas.
A glass of water is one thing.
A man easily downs it, capturing its menace in his bladder; pissing it away.
A few drops of rain do little harm, save to remind of how grief looks upon the cheek.
One day the water is willing to bear your ship upon its back like a liquid elephant.
The next day the elephant doesn't want you on its back, and says, I have no more willingness to have you there; get off.
At sea this is a sad message.
The Captain sits in his cabin wearing a parachute, listening to what the sea might say.

Written 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 .

Written by Russell Edson |

The Marionettes Of Distant Masters

 A pianist dreams that he's hired by a wrecking company to 
ruin a piano with his fingers .
On the day of the piano wrecking concert, as he's dressing, he notices a butterfly annoying a flower in his window box.
He wonders if the police should be called.
Then he thinks maybe the butterfly is just a marionette being manipulated by its master from the window above.
Suddenly everything is beautiful.
He begins to cry.
Then another butterfly begins to annoy the first butterfly.
He again wonders if he shouldn't call the police.
But, perhaps they are marionette-butterflies? He thinks they are, belonging to rival masters seeing whose butterfly can annoy the other's the most.
And this is happening in his window box.
The Cosmic Plan: Distant Masters manipulating minor Masters who, in turn, are manipulating tiny butterfly-Masters who, in turn, are manipulating him .
A universe webbed with strings! Suddenly it is all so beautiful; the light is strange .
Something about the light! He begins to cry .

Written by Russell Edson |


 The living room is overgrown with grass.
It has come up around the furniture.
It stretches through the dining room, past the swinging door into the kitchen.
It extends for miles and miles into the walls .
There's treasure in grass, things dropped or put there; a stick of rust that was once a penknife, a grave marker.
All hidden in the grass at the scalp of the window .
In a cellar under the grass an old man sits in a rocking chair, rocking to and fro.
In his arms he holds an infant, the infant body of himself.
And he rocks to and fro under the grass in the dark .

Written by Russell Edson |

A Historical Breakfast

 A man is bringing a cup of coffee to his face, 
tilting it to his mouth.
It's historical, he thinks.
He scratches his head: another historical event.
He really ought to rest, he's making an awful lot of history this morning.
Oh my, now he's buttering toast, another piece of history is being made.
He wonders why it should have fallen on him to be so historical.
Others probably just don't have it, he thinks, it is, after all, a talent.
He thinks one of his shoelaces needs tying.
Oh well, another important historical event is about to take place.
He just can't help it.
Perhaps he's taking up too large an area of history? But he has to live, hasn't he? Toast needs buttering and he can't go around with one of his shoelaces needing to be tied, can he? Certainly it's true, when the 20th century gets written in full it will be mainly about him.
That's the way the cookie crumbles--ah, there's a phrase that'll be quoted for centuries to come.
Self-conscious? A little; how can one help it with all those yet-to-be-born eyes of the future watching him? Uh oh, he feels another historical event coming .
Ah, there it is, a cup of coffee approaching his face at the end of his arm.
If only they could catch it on film, how much it would mean to the future.
Oops, spilled it all over his lap.
One of those historical accidents that will influence the next thousand years; unpredictable, and really rather uncomfortable .
But history is never easy, he thinks .

Written by Russell Edson |

Paying The Captain

 We get on a boat, never mind if it sinks, we pay 
the captain by throwing him overboard.
And when he gets back onboard we say, captain, please don't be angry.
And he forgives us this time.
And so we throw him overboard again just to make sure we have fully paid the price we have set upon our passage.
When he gets back onboard he is not anxious to forgive us, and he would like it much better if we would get off his boat.
There is nothing left for us to do but to repay him and hope that this time it will be enough.
And so we throw him overboard again.
When he comes aboard again we say, now this must be the last of this, we will pay no more, we want the journey to begin.
But it seems there will be no journey since we have gotten the captain used to a good thing.
And so we must spend the rest of our days throwing the captain overboard.