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Best Famous Drug Poems

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

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12
Written by Emanuel Xavier | Create an image from this poem

WALKING WITH ANGELS

 for Lindsay

AIDS
knows the condom wrapped penetration 
of strangers and lovers, deep inside
only a tear away from risk

knows bare minimum t-cell level counts, 
replacing intoxicating cocktails
with jagged little pills

knows how to avoid a cure thanks to war
how to keep pharmaceutical corporations
and doctors in business

AIDS
knows the weight loss desired 
by supermodels,
knows the fearless meaning of a friends genuine kiss or hug
converts non-believers to religion 
and spirituality

comprehends loneliness
values the support of luminaries
smiles at the solidarity 
of single red ribbons

knows to dim the lights 
to elude detection
how to shame someone into hiding
from the rest of the world
to be grateful for the gift of clothing 
and shelter,
to remain silent, holding back the anger and frustration

AIDS
knows that time on earth 
is limited for all of us
that using lemons to make lemonade is better than drinking the Kool-Aid
but no matter how much you drink
you are always left dehydrated

knows working extensive hours
to pay hospital bills, 
the choice of survival
or taking pleasure in what is left of life

knows the solid white walls
you want to crash through 
and tear down
the thoughts of suicide 
in the back of your head

AIDS
knows the prosperous could be doing more with their wealth
and that everyone still thinks it is a deserving fate- for gays,
drug addicts, prostitutes, 
and the unfortunate children of such
born into a merciless world of posh handbags and designer jewelry

knows how to be used as another percentage to profit politicians
knows it doesn’t only affect humans 
but animals too, without bias
-providing fodder for art and something to be left behind

if there is a God
he has disregarded our prayers
left his angels behind to journey along with us
-none of us knowing exactly 
where we are headed
Written by Duncan Campbell Scott | Create an image from this poem

The Harvest

 Sun on the mountain,
Shade in the valley,
Ripple and lightness
Leaping along the world,
Sun, like a gold sword
Plucked from the scabbard,
Striking the wheat-fields,
Splendid and lusty,
Close-standing, full-headed,
Toppling with plenty;
Shade, like a buckler
Kindly and ample,
Sweeping the wheat-fields
Darkening and tossing;
There on the world-rim
Winds break and gather
Heaping the mist
For the pyre of the sunset;
And still as a shadow,
In the dim westward,
A cloud sloop of amethyst
Moored to the world
With cables of rain.
Acres of gold wheat Stir in the sunshine, Rounding the hill-top, Crested with plenty, Filling the valley, Brimmed with abundance, Wind in the wheat-field Eddying and settling, Swaying it, sweeping it, Lifting the rich heads, Tossing them soothingly Twinkle and shimmer The lights and the shadowings, Nimble as moonlight Astir in the mere.
Laden with odors Of peace and of plenty, Soft comes the wind From the ranks of the wheat-field, Bearing a promise Of harvest and sickle-time, Opulent threshing-floors Dusty and dim With the whirl of the flail, And wagons of bread, Sown-laden and lumbering Through the gateways of cities.
When will the reapers Strike in their sickles, Bending and grasping, Shearing and spreading; When will the gleaners Searching the stubble Take the last wheat-heads Home in their arms ? Ask not the question! - Something tremendous Moves to the answer.
Hunger and poverty Heaped like the ocean Welters and mutters, Hold back the sickles! Millions of children Born to their mothers' womb, Starved at the nipple, cry,-- Ours is the harvest! Millions of women Learned in the tragical Secrets of poverty, Sweated and beaten, cry,-- Hold back the sickles! Millions of men With a vestige of manhood, Wild-eyed and gaunt-throated, Shout with a leonine Accent of anger, Leaves us the wheat-fields! When will the reapers Strike in their sickles? Ask not the question; Something tremendous Moves to the answer.
Long have they sharpened Their fiery, impetuous Sickles of carnage, Welded them aeons Ago in the mountains Of suffering and anguish; Hearts were their hammers Blood was their fire, Sorrow their anvil, (Trusty the sickle Tempered with tears;) Time they had plenty- Harvests and harvests Passed them in agony, Only a half-filled Ear for their lot; Man that has taken God for a master Made him a law, Mocked him and cursed him, Set up this hunger, Called it necessity, Put in the blameless mouth Juda's language: The poor ye have with you Always, unending.
But up from the impotent Anguish of children, Up from the labor Fruitless, unmeaning, Of millions of mothers, Hugely necessitous, Grew by a just law Stern and implacable, Art born of poverty, The making of sickles Meet for the harvest.
And now to the wheat-fields Come the weird reapers Armed with their sickles, Whipping them keenly In the fresh-air fields, Wild with the joy of them, Finding them trusty, Hilted with teen.
Swarming like ants, The Idea for captain, No banners, no bugles, Only a terrible Ground-bass of gathering Tempest and fury, Only a tossing Of arms and of garments; Sexless and featureless, (Only the children Different among them, Crawling between their feet, Borne on their shoulders;) Rolling their shaggy heads Wild with the unheard-of Drug of the sunshine; Tears that had eaten The half of their eyelids Dry on their cheeks; Blood in their stiffened hair Clouted and darkened; Down in their cavern hearts Hunger the tiger, Leaping, exulting; Sighs that had choked them Burst into triumphing; On they come, Victory! Up to the wheat-fields, Dreamed of in visions Bred by the hunger, Seen for the first time Splendid and golden; On they come fluctuant, Seething and breaking, Weltering like fire In the pit of the earthquake, Bursting in heaps With the sudden intractable Lust of the hunger: Then when they see them- The miles of the harvest White in the sunshine, Rushing and stumbling, With the mighty and clamorous Cry of a people Starved from creation, Hurl themselves onward, Deep in the wheat-fields, Weeping like children, After ages and ages, Back at the mother the earth.
Night in the valley, Gloom on the mountain, Wind in the wheat, Far to the southward The flutter of lightning, The shudder of thunder; But high at the zenith, A cluster of stars Glimmers and throbs In the gasp of the midnight, Steady and absolute, Ancient and sure
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

Faces

 1
SAUNTERING the pavement, or riding the country by-road—lo! such faces! 
Faces of friendship, precision, caution, suavity, ideality; 
The spiritual, prescient face—the always welcome, common, benevolent face, 
The face of the singing of music—the grand faces of natural lawyers and judges, broad
 at
 the
 back-top; 
The faces of hunters and fishers, bulged at the brows—the shaved blanch’d faces
 of
 orthodox citizens;
The pure, extravagant, yearning, questioning artist’s face; 
The ugly face of some beautiful Soul, the handsome detested or despised face; 
The sacred faces of infants, the illuminated face of the mother of many children; 
The face of an amour, the face of veneration; 
The face as of a dream, the face of an immobile rock;
The face withdrawn of its good and bad, a castrated face; 
A wild hawk, his wings clipp’d by the clipper; 
A stallion that yielded at last to the thongs and knife of the gelder.
Sauntering the pavement, thus, or crossing the ceaseless ferry, faces, and faces, and faces: I see them, and complain not, and am content with all.
2 Do you suppose I could be content with all, if I thought them their own finale? This now is too lamentable a face for a man; Some abject louse, asking leave to be—cringing for it; Some milk-nosed maggot, blessing what lets it wrig to its hole.
This face is a dog’s snout, sniffing for garbage; Snakes nest in that mouth—I hear the sibilant threat.
This face is a haze more chill than the arctic sea; Its sleepy and wobbling icebergs crunch as they go.
This is a face of bitter herbs—this an emetic—they need no label; And more of the drug-shelf, laudanum, caoutchouc, or hog’s-lard.
This face is an epilepsy, its wordless tongue gives out the unearthly cry, Its veins down the neck distended, its eyes roll till they show nothing but their whites, Its teeth grit, the palms of the hands are cut by the turn’d-in nails, The man falls struggling and foaming to the ground while he speculates well.
This face is bitten by vermin and worms, And this is some murderer’s knife, with a half-pull’d scabbard.
This face owes to the sexton his dismalest fee; An unceasing death-bell tolls there.
3 Those then are really men—the bosses and tufts of the great round globe! Features of my equals, would you trick me with your creas’d and cadaverous march? Well, you cannot trick me.
I see your rounded, never-erased flow; I see neath the rims of your haggard and mean disguises.
Splay and twist as you like—poke with the tangling fores of fishes or rats; You’ll be unmuzzled, you certainly will.
I saw the face of the most smear’d and slobbering idiot they had at the asylum; And I knew for my consolation what they knew not; I knew of the agents that emptied and broke my brother, The same wait to clear the rubbish from the fallen tenement; And I shall look again in a score or two of ages, And I shall meet the real landlord, perfect and unharm’d, every inch as good as myself.
4 The Lord advances, and yet advances; Always the shadow in front—always the reach’d hand bringing up the laggards.
Out of this face emerge banners and horses—O superb! I see what is coming; I see the high pioneer-caps—I see the staves of runners clearing the way, I hear victorious drums.
This face is a life-boat; This is the face commanding and bearded, it asks no odds of the rest; This face is flavor’d fruit, ready for eating; This face of a healthy honest boy is the programme of all good.
These faces bear testimony, slumbering or awake; They show their descent from the Master himself.
Off the word I have spoken, I except not one—red, white, black, are all deific; In each house is the ovum—it comes forth after a thousand years.
Spots or cracks at the windows do not disturb me; Tall and sufficient stand behind, and make signs to me; I read the promise, and patiently wait.
This is a full-grown lily’s face, She speaks to the limber-hipp’d man near the garden pickets, Come here, she blushingly cries—Come nigh to me, limber-hipp’d man, Stand at my side till I lean as high as I can upon you, Fill me with albescent honey, bend down to me, Rub to me with your chafing beard, rub to my breast and shoulders.
5 The old face of the mother of many children! Whist! I am fully content.
Lull’d and late is the smoke of the First-day morning, It hangs low over the rows of trees by the fences, It hangs thin by the sassafras, the wild-cherry, and the cat-brier under them.
I saw the rich ladies in full dress at the soiree, I heard what the singers were singing so long, Heard who sprang in crimson youth from the white froth and the water-blue, Behold a woman! She looks out from her quaker cap—her face is clearer and more beautiful than the sky.
She sits in an arm-chair, under the shaded porch of the farmhouse, The sun just shines on her old white head.
Her ample gown is of cream-hued linen, Her grandsons raised the flax, and her granddaughters spun it with the distaff and the wheel.
The melodious character of the earth, The finish beyond which philosophy cannot go, and does not wish to go, The justified mother of men.
Written by Vachel Lindsay | Create an image from this poem

The Tale of the Tiger-Tree

 A Fantasy, dedicated to the little poet Alice Oliver Henderson, ten years old.
The Fantasy shows how tiger-hearts are the cause of war in all ages.
It shows how the mammoth forces may be either friends or enemies of the struggle for peace.
It shows how the dream of peace is unconquerable and eternal.
I Peace-of-the-Heart, my own for long, Whose shining hair the May-winds fan, Making it tangled as they can, A mystery still, star-shining yet, Through ancient ages known to me And now once more reborn with me: — This is the tale of the Tiger Tree A hundred times the height of a man, Lord of the race since the world began.
This is my city Springfield, My home on the breast of the plain.
The state house towers to heaven, By an arsenal gray as the rain.
.
.
And suddenly all is mist, And I walk in a world apart, In the forest-age when I first knelt down At your feet, O Peace-of-the-Heart.
This is the wonder of twilight: Three times as high as the dome Tiger-striped trees encircle the town, Golden geysers of foam.
While giant white parrots sail past in their pride.
The roofs now are clouds and storms that they ride.
And there with the huntsmen of mound-builder days Through jungle and meadow I stride.
And the Tiger Tree leaf is falling around As it fell when the world began: Like a monstrous tiger-skin, stretched on the ground, Or the cloak of a medicine man.
A deep-crumpled gossamer web, Fringed with the fangs of a snake.
The wind swirls it down from the leperous boughs.
It shimmers on clay-hill and lake, With the gleam of great bubbles of blood, Or coiled like a rainbow shell.
.
.
.
I feast on the stem of the Leaf as I march.
I am burning with Heaven and Hell.
II The gray king died in his hour.
Then we crowned you, the prophetess wise: Peace-of-the-Heart we deeply adored For the witchcraft hid in your eyes.
Gift from the sky, overmastering all, You sent forth your magical parrots to call The plot-hatching prince of the tigers, To your throne by the red-clay wall.
Thus came that genius insane: Spitting and slinking, Sneering and vain, He sprawled to your grassy throne, drunk on The Leaf, The drug that was cunning and splendor and grief.
He had fled from the mammoth by day, He had blasted the mammoth by night, War was his drunkenness, War was his dreaming, War was his love and his play.
And he hissed at your heavenly glory While his councillors snarled in delight, Asking in irony: "What shall we learn From this whisperer, fragile and white?" And had you not been an enchantress They would not have loitered to mock Nor spared your white parrots who walked by their paws With bantering venturesome talk.
You made a white fire of The Leaf.
You sang while the tiger-chiefs hissed.
You chanted of "Peace to the wonderful world.
" And they saw you in dazzling mist.
And their steps were no longer insane, Kindness came down like the rain, They dreamed that like fleet young ponies they feasted On succulent grasses and grain.
Then came the black-mammoth chief: Long-haired and shaggy and great, Proud and sagacious he marshalled his court: (You had sent him your parrots of state.
) His trunk in rebellion upcurled, A curse at the tiger he hurled.
Huge elephants trumpeted there by his side, And mastodon-chiefs of the world.
But higher magic began.
For the turbulent vassals of man.
You harnessed their fever, you conquered their ire, Their hearts turned to flowers through holy desire, For their darling and star you were crowned, And their raging demons were bound.
You rode on the back of the yellow-streaked king, His loose neck was wreathed with a mistletoe ring.
Primordial elephants loomed by your side, And our clay-painted children danced by your path, Chanting the death of the kingdoms of wrath.
You wrought until night with us all.
The fierce brutes fawned at your call, Then slipped to their lairs, song-chained.
And thus you sang sweetly, and reigned: "Immortal is the inner peace, free to beasts and men.
Beginning in the darkness, the mystery will conquer, And now it comforts every heart that seeks for love again.
And now the mammoth bows the knee, We hew down every Tiger Tree, We send each tiger bound in love and glory to his den, Bound in love.
.
.
and wisdom.
.
.
and glory,.
.
.
to his den.
" III "Beware of the trumpeting swine," Came the howl from the northward that night.
Twice-rebel tigers warning was still If we held not beside them it boded us ill.
From the parrots translating the cry, And the apes in the trees came the whine: "Beware of the trumpeting swine.
Beware of the faith of a mammoth.
" "Beware of the faith of a tiger," Came the roar from the southward that night.
Trumpeting mammoths warning us still If we held not beside them it boded us ill.
The frail apes wailed to us all, The parrots reëchoed the call: "Beware of the faith of a tiger.
" From the heights of the forest the watchers could see The tiger-cats crunching the Leaf of the Tree Lashing themselves, and scattering foam, Killing our huntsmen, hurrying home.
The chiefs of the mammoths our mastery spurned, And eastward restlessly fumed and burned.
The peacocks squalled out the news of their drilling And told how they trampled, maneuvered, and turned.
Ten thousand man-hating tigers Whirling down from the north, like a flood! Ten thousand mammoths oncoming From the south as avengers of blood! Our child-queen was mourning, her magic was dead, The roots of the Tiger Tree reeking with red.
IV This is the tale of the Tiger Tree A hundred times the height of a man, Lord of the race since the world began.
We marched to the mammoths, We pledged them our steel, And scorning you, sang: — "We are men, We are men.
" We mounted their necks, And they stamped a wide reel.
We sang: "We are fighting the hell-cats again, We are mound-builder men, We are elephant men.
" We left you there, lonely, Beauty your power, Wisdom your watchman, To hold the clay tower.
While the black-mammoths boomed — "You are elephant men, Men, Men, Elephant men.
" The dawn-winds prophesied battles untold.
While the Tiger Trees roared of the glories of old, Of the masterful spirits and hard.
The drunken cats came in their joy In the sunrise, a glittering wave.
"We are tigers, are tigers," they yowled.
"Down, Down, Go the swine to the grave.
" But we tramp Tramp Trampled them there, Then charged with our sabres and spears.
The swish of the sabre, The swish of the sabre, Was a marvellous tune in our ears.
We yelled "We are men, We are men.
" As we bled to death in the sun.
.
.
.
Then staunched our horrible wounds With the cry that the battle was won.
.
.
.
And at last, When the black-mammoth legion Split the night with their song: — "Right is braver than wrong, Right is stronger than wrong," The buzzards came taunting: "Down from the north Tiger-nations are sweeping along.
" Then we ate of the ravening Leaf As our savage fathers of old.
No longer our wounds made us weak, No longer our pulses were cold.
Though half of my troops were afoot, (For the great who had borne them were slain) We dreamed we were tigers, and leaped And foamed with that vision insane.
We cried "We are soldiers of doom, Doom, Sabres of glory and doom.
" We wreathed the king of the mammoths In the tiger-leaves' terrible bloom.
We flattered the king of the mammoths, Loud-rattling sabres and spears.
The swish of the sabre, The swish of the sabre, Was a marvellous tune in his ears.
V This was the end of the battle.
The tigers poured by in a tide Over us all with their caterwaul call, "We are the tigers," They cried.
"We are the sabres," They cried.
But we laughed while our blades swept wide, While the dawn-rays stabbed through the gloom.
"We are suns on fire" was our yell — "Suns on fire.
".
.
.
But man-child and mastodon fell, Mammoth and elephant fell.
The fangs of the devil-cats closed on the world, Plunged it to blackness and doom.
The desolate red-clay wall Echoed the parrots' call: — "Immortal is the inner peace, free to beasts and men.
Beginning in the darkness, the mystery will conquer, And now it comforts every heart that seeks for love again.
And now the mammoth bows the knee, We hew down every Tiger Tree, We send each tiger bound in love and glory to his den, Bound in love.
.
.
and wisdom.
.
.
and glory,.
.
.
to his den.
" A peacock screamed of his beauty On that broken wall by the trees, Chiding his little mate, Spreading his fans in the breeze.
.
.
And you, with eyes of a bride, Knelt on the wall at my side, The deathless song in your mouth.
.
.
A million new tigers swept south.
.
.
As we laughed at the peacock, and died.
This is my vision in Springfield: Three times as high as the dome, Tiger-striped trees encircle the town, Golden geysers of foam; — Though giant white parrots sail past, giving voice, Though I walk with Peace-of-the-Heart and rejoice.
Written by Tony Hoagland | Create an image from this poem

Why the Young Men Are So Ugly

 They have little tractors in their blood
and all day the tractors climb up and down
inside their arms and legs, their
collarbones and heads.
That is why they yell and scream and slam the barbells down into their clanking slots, making the metal ring like sledgehammers on iron, like dungeon prisoners rattling their chains.
That is why they shriek their tires at the stopsign, why they turn the base up on the stereo until it shakes the traffic light, until it dryhumps the eardrum of the crossing guard.
Testosterone is a drug, and they say No, No, No until they are overwhelmed and punch their buddy in the face for joy, or make a joke about gravy and bottomless holes to a middle-aged waitress who is gently setting down the plate in front of them.
If they are grotesque, if what they say and do is often nothing more than a kind of psychopathic fart, it is only because of the tractors, the tractors in their blood, revving their engines, chewing up the turf inside their arteries and veins It is the testosterone tractor constantly climbing the mudhill of the world and dragging the young man behind it by a chain around his leg.
In the stink and the noise, in the clouds of filthy exhaust is where they live.
It is the tractors that make them what they are.
While they make being a man look like a disease.
Written by William Butler Yeats | Create an image from this poem

Among School Children

 I

I walk through the long schoolroom questioning;
A kind old nun in a white hood replies;
The children learn to cipher and to sing,
To study reading-books and histories,
To cut and sew, be neat in everything
In the best modern way - the children's eyes
In momentary wonder stare upon
A sixty-year-old smiling public man.
II I dream of a Ledaean body, bent Above a sinking fire.
a tale that she Told of a harsh reproof, or trivial event That changed some childish day to tragedy - Told, and it seemed that our two natures blent Into a sphere from youthful sympathy, Or else, to alter Plato's parable, Into the yolk and white of the one shell.
III And thinking of that fit of grief or rage I look upon one child or t'other there And wonder if she stood so at that age - For even daughters of the swan can share Something of every paddler's heritage - And had that colour upon cheek or hair, And thereupon my heart is driven wild: She stands before me as a living child.
IV Her present image floats into the mind - Did Quattrocento finger fashion it Hollow of cheek as though it drank the wind And took a mess of shadows for its meat? And I though never of Ledaean kind Had pretty plumage once - enough of that, Better to smile on all that smile, and show There is a comfortable kind of old scarecrow.
V What youthful mother, a shape upon her lap Honey of generation had betrayed, And that must sleep, shriek, struggle to escape As recollection or the drug decide, Would think her Son, did she but see that shape With sixty or more winters on its head, A compensation for the pang of his birth, Or the uncertainty of his setting forth? VI Plato thought nature but a spume that plays Upon a ghostly paradigm of things; Solider Aristotle played the taws Upon the bottom of a king of kings; World-famous golden-thighed Pythagoras Fingered upon a fiddle-stick or strings What a star sang and careless Muses heard: Old clothes upon old sticks to scare a bird.
VII Both nuns and mothers worship images, But thos the candles light are not as those That animate a mother's reveries, But keep a marble or a bronze repose.
And yet they too break hearts - O presences That passion, piety or affection knows, And that all heavenly glory symbolise - O self-born mockers of man's enterprise; VIII Labour is blossoming or dancing where The body is not bruised to pleasure soul.
Nor beauty born out of its own despair, Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil.
O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer, Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole? O body swayed to music, O brightening glance, How can we know the dancer from the dance?
Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

A Death-Bed

 1918
This is the State above the Law.
The State exists for the State alone.
" [This is a gland at the back of the jaw, And an answering lump by the collar-bone.
], Some die shouting in gas or fire; Some die silent, by shell and shot.
Some die desperate, caught on the wire - Some die suddenly.
This will not.
"Regis suprema voluntas Lex" [It will follow the regular course of--throats.
] Some die pinned by the broken decks, Some die sobbing between the boats.
Some die eloquent, pressed to death By the sliding trench as their friends can hear Some die wholly in half a breath.
Some--give trouble for half a year.
"There is neither Evil nor Good in life Except as the needs of the State ordain.
" [Since it is rather too late for the knife, All we can do is to mask the pain.
] Some die saintly in faith and hope-- One died thus in a prison-yard-- Some die broken by rape or the rope; Some die easily.
This dies hard.
"I will dash to pieces who bar my way.
Woe to the traitor! Woe to the weak! " [Let him write what he wishes to say.
It tires him out if he tries to speak.
] Some die quietly.
Some abound In loud self-pity.
Others spread Bad morale through the cots around .
This is a type that is better dead.
"The war was forced on me by my foes.
All that I sought was the right to live.
" [Don't be afraid of a triple dose; The pain will neutralize all we give.
Here are the needles.
See that he dies While the effects of the drug endure.
.
.
.
What is the question he asks with his eyes?-- Yes, All-Highest, to God, be sure.
]
Written by Adrienne Rich | Create an image from this poem

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

 My swirling wants.
Your frozen lips.
The grammar turned and attacked me.
Themes, written under duress.
Emptiness of the notations.
They gave me a drug that slowed the healing of wounds.
I want you to see this before I leave: the experience of repetition as death the failure of criticism to locate the pain the poster in the bus that said: my bleeding is under control A red plant in a cemetary of plastic wreaths.
A last attempt: the language is a dialect called metaphor.
These images go unglossed: hair, glacier, flashlight.
When I think of a landscape I am thinking of a time.
When I talk of taking a trip I mean forever.
I could say: those mountains have a meaning but further than that I could not say.
To do something very common, in my own way.
Written by Claude McKay | Create an image from this poem

Adolescence

 There was a time when in late afternoon 
The four-o'clocks would fold up at day's close 
Pink-white in prayer, and 'neath the floating moon 
I lay with them in calm and sweet repose.
And in the open spaces I could sleep, Half-naked to the shining worlds above; Peace came with sleep and sleep was long and deep, Gained without effort, sweet like early love.
But now no balm--nor drug nor weed nor wine-- Can bring true rest to cool my body's fever, Nor sweeten in my mouth the acid brine, That salts my choicest drink and will forever.
Written by Dylan Thomas | Create an image from this poem

If I Were Tickled By the Rub of Love

 If I were tickled by the rub of love,
A rooking girl who stole me for her side,
Broke through her straws, breaking my bandaged string,
If the red tickle as the cattle calve
Still set to scratch a laughter from my lung,
I would not fear the apple nor the flood
Nor the bad blood of spring.
Shall it be male or female? say the cells, And drop the plum like fire from the flesh.
If I were tickled by the hatching hair, The winging bone that sprouted in the heels, The itch of man upon the baby's thigh, I would not fear the gallows nor the axe Nor the crossed sticks of war.
Shall it be male or female? say the fingers That chalk the walls with greet girls and their men.
I would not fear the muscling-in of love If I were tickled by the urchin hungers Rehearsing heat upon a raw-edged nerve.
I would not fear the devil in the loin Nor the outspoken grave.
If I were tickled by the lovers' rub That wipes away not crow's-foot nor the lock Of sick old manhood on the fallen jaws, Time and the crabs and the sweethearting crib Would leave me cold as butter for the flies The sea of scums could drown me as it broke Dead on the sweethearts' toes.
This world is half the devil's and my own, Daft with the drug that's smoking in a girl And curling round the bud that forks her eye.
An old man's shank one-marrowed with my bone, And all the herrings smelling in the sea, I sit and watch the worm beneath my nail Wearing the quick away.
And that's the rub, the only rub that tickles.
The knobbly ape that swings along his sex From damp love-darkness and the nurse's twist Can never raise the midnight of a chuckle, Nor when he finds a beauty in the breast Of lover, mother, lovers, or his six Feet in the rubbing dust.
And what's the rub? Death's feather on the nerve? Your mouth, my love, the thistle in the kiss? My Jack of Christ born thorny on the tree? The words of death are dryer than his stiff, My wordy wounds are printed with your hair.
I would be tickled by the rub that is: Man be my metaphor.
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