Edward Lear | |
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"
Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will.
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
Sylvia Plath | |
I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it_____
A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot
My face featureless, fine
Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?-------
The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.
Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me
And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.
This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.
What a million filaments.
The Peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see
Them unwrap me hand in foot ------
The big strip tease.
Gentleman , ladies
These are my hands
I may be skin and bone,
Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.
The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut
As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.
It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical
Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
That knocks me out.
There is a charge
For the eyeing my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart---
It really goes.
And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood
Or a piece of my hair on my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.
I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby
That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there----
A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.
Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.
A R Ammons | |
You'll rejoice at how many kinds of shit there are:
gosling shit (which J.
Williams said something
was as green as), fish shit (the generality), trout
shit, rainbow trout shit (for the nice), mullet shit,
sand dab shit, casual sloth shit, elephant shit
(awesome as process or payload), wildebeest shit,
horse shit (a favorite), caterpillar shit (so many dark
kinds, neatly pelleted as mint seed), baby rhinoceros
shit, splashy jaybird shit, mockingbird shit
(dive-bombed with the aim of song), robin shit that
oozes white down lawnchairs or down roots under roosts,
chicken shit and chicken mite shit, pelican shit, gannet
shit (wholesome guano), fly shit (periodic), cockatoo
shit, dog shit (past catalog or assimilation),
cricket shit, elk (high plains) shit, and
tiny scribbled little shrew shit, whale shit (what
a sight, deep assumption), mandril shit (blazing
blast off), weasel shit (wiles' waste), gazelle shit,
magpie shit (total protein), tiger shit (too acid
to contemplate), moral eel and manta ray shit, eerie
shark shit, earthworm shit (a soilure), crab shit,
wolf shit upon the germicidal ice, snake shit, giraffe
shit that accelerates, secretary bird shit, turtle
shit suspension invites, remora shit slightly in
advance of the shark shit, hornet shit (difficult to
assess), camel shit that slaps the ghastly dry
siliceous, frog shit, beetle shit, bat shit (the
marmoreal), contemptible cat shit, penguin shit,
hermit crab shit, prairie hen shit, cougar shit, eagle
shit (high totem stuff), buffalo shit (hardly less
lofty), otter shit, beaver shit (from the animal of
alluvial dreams)—a vast ordure is a broken down
cloaca—macaw shit, alligator shit (that floats the Nile
along), louse shit, macaque, koala, and coati shit,
antelope shit, chuck-will's-widow shit, alpaca shit
(very high stuff), gooney bird shit, chigger shit, bull
shit (the classic), caribou shit, rasbora, python, and
razorbill shit, scorpion shit, man shit, laswing
fly larva shit, chipmunk shit, other-worldly wallaby
shit, gopher shit (or broke), platypus shit, aardvark
shit, spider shit, kangaroo and peccary shit, guanaco
shit, dolphin shit, aphid shit, baboon shit (that leopards
induce), albatross shit, red-headed woodpecker (nine
inches long) shit, tern shit, hedgehog shit, panda shit,
seahorse shit, and the shit of the wasteful gallinule.
More great poems below...
Sir Walter Raleigh | |
Attend my words, my gentle knave,
And you shall learn from me
How boys at dinner may behave
With due propriety.
Guard well your hands: two things have been
Unfitly used by some;
The trencher for a tambourine,
The table for a drum.
We could not lead a pleasant life,
And 'twould be finished soon,
If peas were eaten with the knife,
And gravy with the spoon.
Eat slowly: only men in rags
And gluttons old in sin
Mistake themselves for carpet bags
And tumble victuals in.
The privy pinch, the whispered tease,
The wild, unseemly yell --
When children do such things as these,
We say, "It is not well.
Endure your mother's timely stare,
Your father's righteous ire,
And do not wriggle on your chair
Like flannel in the fire.
Be silent: you may chatter loud
When you are fully grown,
Surrounded by a silent crowd
Of children of your own.
If you should suddenly feel bored
And much inclined to yawning,
Your little hand will best afford
A modest useful awning.
Think highly of the Cat: and yet
You need not therefore think
That portly strangers like your pet
To share their meat and drink.
The end of dinner comes ere long
When, once more full and free,
You cheerfully may bide the gong
That calls you to your tea.
Alec Derwent (A D) Hope | |
Year after year the princess lies asleep
Until the hundred years foretold are done,
Easily drawing her enchanted breath.
Caught on the monstrous thorns around the keep,
Bones of the youths who sought her, one by one
Rot loose and rattle to the ground beneath.
But when the Destined Lover at last shall come,
For whom alone Fortune reserves the prize
The thorns give way; he mounts the cobwebbed stair
Unerring he finds the tower, the door, the room,
The bed where, waking at his kiss she lies
Smiling in the loose fragrance of her hair.
That night, embracing on the bed of state,
He ravishes her century of sleep
And she repays the debt of that long dream;
Future and Past compose their vast debate;
His seed now sown, her harvest ripe to reap
Enact a variation on the theme.
For in her womb another princess waits,
A sleeping cell, a globule of bright dew.
Jostling their way up that mysterious stair,
A horde of lovers bursts between the gates,
All doomed but one, the destined suitor, who
By luck first reaches her and takes her there.
A parable of all we are or do!
The life of Nature is a formal dance
In which each step is ruled by what has been
And yet the pattern emerges always new
The marriage of linked cause and random chance
Gives birth perpetually to the unforeseen.
One parable for the body and the mind:
With science and heredity to thank
The heart is quite predictable as a pump,
But, let love change its beat, the choice is blind.
'Now' is a cross-roads where all maps prove blank,
And no one knows which way the cat will jump.
So here stand I, by birth a cross between
Determined pattern and incredible chance,
Each with an equal share in what I am.
Though I should read the code stored in the gene,
Yet the blind lottery of circumstance
Mocks all solutions to its cryptogram.
As in my flesh, so in my spirit stand I
When does this hundred years draw to its close?
The hedge of thorns before me gives no clue.
My predecessor's carcass, shrunk and dry,
Stares at me through the spikes.
Oh well, here goes!
I have this thing, and only this, to do.
Jorge Luis Borges | |
Mirrors are not more silent
nor the creeping dawn more secretive;
in the moonlight, you are that panther
we catch sight of from afar.
By the inexplicable workings of a divine law,
we look for you in vain;
More remote, even, than the Ganges or the setting sun,
yours is the solitude, yours the secret.
Your haunch allows the lingering
caress of my hand.
You have accepted,
since that long forgotten past,
the love of the distrustful hand.
You belong to another time.
You are lord
of a place bounded like a dream.
Sir Henry Newbolt | |
I was out early to-day, spying about
From the top of a haystack -- such a lovely morning --
And when I mounted again to canter back
I saw across a field in the broad sunlight
A young Gunner Subaltern, stalking along
With a rook-rifle held at the read, and -- would you believe it? --
A domestic cat, soberly marching beside him.
So I laughed, and felt quite well disposed to the youngster,
And shouted out "the top of the morning" to him,
And wished him "Good sport!" -- and then I remembered
My rank, and his, and what I ought to be doing:
And I rode nearer, and added, "I can only suppose
You have not seen the Commander-in-Chief's order
Forbidding English officers to annoy their Allies
By hunting and shooting.
But he stood and saluted
And said earnestly, "I beg your pardon, Sir,
I was only going out to shoot a sparrow
To feed my cat with.
So there was the whole picture,
The lovely early morning, the occasional shell
Screeching and scattering past us, the empty landscape, --
Empty, except for the young Gunner saluting,
And the cat, anxiously watching his every movement.
I may be wrong, or I may have told it badly,
But it struck me as being extremely ludicrous.
James Lee Jobe | |
I planted my grief
in freshly turned earth
A tree grows there now
You should see the size of it
I filled my wheel-barrow
with all my pointless regrets
I put them out by the curb
A truck will pick them up on Thursday
I spent some time following my cat
She led me all around our yard
stopping to rub her face in mint
I rubbed my face in mint, too
The moon shone on and on
climbing higher above the park across the street
"Who can stay awake longer?" I asked her
as she began her long arc back down
James Lee Jobe | |
It's mid-winter and the sunrise knows it, and wakes me
with a shudder; I'm just a man.
For 5 cold mornings in a row, the beautiful pheasant
has come to our patio to steal some of the dry catfood,
sometimes right in front of my cat.
The house is still, and I enjoy the Sunday newspaper
with strong, dark coffee; the smell of it dances
around in the early darkness.
Driving to church there is bright, eager sunshine,
and the shadows of bare winter oaks stripe the lane
like a zebra; shadow, light, shadow.
At church I pray for my favorite aunt, Anna, her clock
seems to be quickly winding down, dear lady, widow
of my favorite uncle, Richard; mostly I just pray
that she finds her center.
The pheasant is a male, strikingly colored,
so beautiful, in fact, that I've begun to scatter extra catfood
to draw him back; we have become his grocery store.
I tell my wife that if he comes a 6th day, I'll give him a name,
Richard; but he never comes again.
James Lee Jobe | |
Charlie, sunrise is a three-legged mongrel dog,
going deaf, already blind in one eye,
answering to the unlikely name, 'Lucky.
The sky, at gray-blue dawn, is a football field painted
by smiling artists.
Each artist has 3 arms, 3 hands, 3 legs.
One leg drags behind, leaving a trail, leaving a mark.
The future resembles a cloudy dream
where the ghosts of all your life
try to tell you something, but what?
Noon is a plate of mashed potatoes and gravy.
Midnight is an ugly chipped plate
that you only use when you are alone.
Sunset is a wise cat who ignores you
even when you are offering food; her conception
of what life is, or isn't, far exceeds our own.
This moment is a desert at midnight,
the hunting moon is full, and owls
fly through a cloudless sky.
The past is a winding, green river valley
deep between pine covered ridges;
what can you make of that?
Night is a secret plant growing inky black against the sky.
When this plant's life is over, then day returns
like a drunken husband who stayed out until breakfast.
A smile is a quick glimpse at the pretty face of hope.
Hope's face is framed by the beautiful night sky.
Hope's face is framed by the gray-blue dawn.
This is your life, these seconds and years
are the music for your only dance.
This is the eternity that you get to know.
Edna St Vincent Millay | |
When I was a windy boy and a bit
And the black spit of the chapel fold,
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of women),
I tiptoed shy in the gooseberry wood,
The rude owl cried like a tell-tale tit,
I skipped in a blush as the big girls rolled
Nine-pin down on donkey's common,
And on seesaw sunday nights I wooed
Whoever I would with my wicked eyes,
The whole of the moon I could love and leave
All the green leaved little weddings' wives
In the coal black bush and let them grieve.
When I was a gusty man and a half
And the black beast of the beetles' pews
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of bitches),
Not a boy and a bit in the wick-
Dipping moon and drunk as a new dropped calf,
I whistled all night in the twisted flues,
Midwives grew in the midnight ditches,
And the sizzling sheets of the town cried, Quick!-
Whenever I dove in a breast high shoal,
Wherever I ramped in the clover quilts,
Whatsoever I did in the coal-
Black night, I left my quivering prints.
When I was a man you could call a man
And the black cross of the holy house,
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of welcome),
Brandy and ripe in my bright, bass prime,
No springtailed tom in the red hot town
With every simmering woman his mouse
But a hillocky bull in the swelter
Of summer come in his great good time
To the sultry, biding herds, I said,
Oh, time enough when the blood runs cold,
And I lie down but to sleep in bed,
For my sulking, skulking, coal black soul!
When I was half the man I was
And serve me right as the preachers warn,
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of downfall),
No flailing calf or cat in a flame
Or hickory bull in milky grass
But a black sheep with a crumpled horn,
At last the soul from its foul mousehole
Slunk pouting out when the limp time came;
And I gave my soul a blind, slashed eye,
Gristle and rind, and a roarers' life,
And I shoved it into the coal black sky
To find a woman's soul for a wife.
Now I am a man no more no more
And a black reward for a roaring life,
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of strangers),
Tidy and cursed in my dove cooed room
I lie down thin and hear the good bells jaw--
For, oh, my soul found a sunday wife
In the coal black sky and she bore angels!
Harpies around me out of her womb!
Chastity prays for me, piety sings,
Innocence sweetens my last black breath,
Modesty hides my thighs in her wings,
And all the deadly virtues plague my death!
Edna St Vincent Millay | |
AS I went walking up and down to take the evening air,
(Sweet to meet upon the street, why must I be so shy?)
I saw him lay his hand upon her torn black hair;
("Little dirty Latin child, let the lady by!")
The women squatting on the stoops were slovenly and fat,
(Lay me out in organdie, lay me out in lawn!)
And everywhere I stepped there was a baby or a cat;
(Lord, God in Heaven, will it never be dawn?)
The fruit-carts and clam-carts were ribald as a fair,
(Pink nets and wet shells trodden under heel)
She had haggled from the fruit-man of his rotting ware;
(I shall never get to sleep, the way I feel!)
He walked like a king through the filth and the clutter,
(Sweet to meet upon the street, why did you glance me by?)
But he caught the quaint Italian quip she flung him from the gutter;
(What can there be to cry about that I should lie and cry?)
He laid his darling hand upon her little black head,
(I wish I were a ragged child with ear-rings in my ears! )
And he said she was a baggage to have said what she had said;
(Truly I shall be ill unless I stop these tears!)
Edna St Vincent Millay | |
Ah, could I lay me down in this long grass
And close my eyes, and let the quiet wind
Blow over me—I am so tired, so tired
Of passing pleasant places! All my life,
Following Care along the dusty road,
Have I looked back at loveliness and sighed;
Yet at my hand an unrelenting hand
Tugged ever, and I passed.
All my life long
Over my shoulder have I looked at peace;
And now I fain would lie in this long grass
And close my eyes.
Cat birds call
Through the long afternoon, and creeks at dusk
Whip-poor-wills wake and cry,
Drawing the twilight close about their throats.
Only my heart makes answer.
Go up the rocks and wait; flushed apple-trees
Pause in their dance and break the ring for me;
And bayberry, that through sweet bevies thread
Of round-faced roses, pink and petulant,
Look back and beckon ere they disappear.
Only my heart, only my heart responds.
Yet, ah, my path is sweet on either side
All through the dragging day,—sharp underfoot
And hot, and like dead mist the dry dust hangs—
But far, oh, far as passionate eye can reach,
And long, ah, long as rapturous eye can cling,
The world is mine: blue hill, still silver lake,
Broad field, bright flower, and the long white road
A gateless garden, and an open path:
My feet to follow, and my heart to hold.
Marianne Moore | |
Man looking into the sea,
taking the view from those who have as much right to it as
you have to it yourself,
it is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing,
but you cannot stand in the middle of this;
the sea has nothing to give but a well excavated grave.
The firs stand in a procession, each with an emerald turkey—
foot at the top,
reserved as their contours, saying nothing;
repression, however, is not the most obvious characteristic of
the sea is a collector, quick to return a rapacious look.
There are others besides you who have worn that look—
whose expression is no longer a protest; the fish no longer
for their bones have not lasted:
men lower nets, unconscious of the fact that they are
desecrating a grave,
and row quickly away-the blades of the oars
moving together like the feet of water-spiders as if there were
no such thing as death.
The wrinkles progress among themselves in a phalanx—
beautiful under networks of foam,
and fade breathlessly while the sea rustles in and out of the
the birds swim through the air at top speed, emitting cat-calls
the tortoise-shell scourges about the feet of the cliffs, in motion
and the ocean, under the pulsation of lighthouses and noise of
advances as usual, looking as if it were not that ocean in which
dropped things are bound to sink—
in which if they turn and twist, it is neither with volition nor
Marianne Moore | |
My father used to say,
"Superior people never make long visits,
have to be shown Longfellow's grave
nor the glass flowers at Harvard.
Self reliant like the cat --
that takes its prey to privacy,
the mouse's limp tail hanging like a shoelace from its mouth --
they sometimes enjoy solitude,
and can be robbed of speech
by speech which has delighted them.
The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence;
not in silence, but restraint.
Nor was he insincere in saying, "Make my house your inn.
Inns are not residences.