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Best Famous Get Down Poems

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Written by Shel Silverstein | Create an image from this poem

One Inch Tall

 If you were only one inch tall, you'd ride a worm to school.
The teardrop of a crying ant would be your swimming pool.
A crumb of cake would be a feast And last you seven days at least, A flea would be a frightening beast If you were one inch tall.
If you were only one inch tall, you'd walk beneath the door, And it would take about a month to get down to the store.
A bit of fluff would be your bed, You'd swing upon a spider's thread, And wear a thimble on your head If you were one inch tall.
You'd surf across the kitchen sink upon a stick of gum.
You couldn't hug your mama, you'd just have to hug her thumb.
You'd run from people's feet in fright, To move a pen would take all night, (This poem took fourteen years to write-- 'Cause I'm just one inch tall).
Written by Robert Frost | Create an image from this poem

A Servant to Servants

 I didn't make you know how glad I was 
To have you come and camp here on our land.
I promised myself to get down some day And see the way you lived, but I don't know! With a houseful of hungry men to feed I guess you'd find.
It seems to me I can't express my feelings any more Than I can raise my voice or want to lift My hand (oh, I can lift it when I have to).
Did ever you feel so? I hope you never.
It's got so I don't even know for sure Whether I am glad, sorry, or anything.
There's nothing but a voice-like left inside That seems to tell me how I ought to feel, And would feel if I wasn't all gone wrong.
You take the lake.
I look and look at it.
I see it's a fair, pretty sheet of water.
I stand and make myself repeat out loud The advantages it has, so long and narrow, Like a deep piece of some old running river Cut short off at both ends.
It lies five miles Straight away through the mountain notch From the sink window where I wash the plates, And all our storms come up toward the house, Drawing the slow waves whiter and whiter and whiter.
It took my mind off doughnuts and soda biscuit To step outdoors and take the water dazzle A sunny morning, or take the rising wind About my face and body and through my wrapper, When a storm threatened from the Dragon's Den, And a cold chill shivered across the lake.
I see it's a fair, pretty sheet of water, Our Willoughby! How did you hear of it? I expect, though, everyone's heard of it.
In a book about ferns? Listen to that! You let things more like feathers regulate Your going and coming.
And you like it here? I can see how you might.
But I don't know! It would be different if more people came, For then there would be business.
As it is, The cottages Len built, sometimes we rent them, Sometimes we don't.
We've a good piece of shore That ought to be worth something, and may yet.
But I don't count on it as much as Len.
He looks on the bright side of everything, Including me.
He thinks I'll be all right With doctoring.
But it's not medicine-- Lowe is the only doctor's dared to say so-- It's rest I want--there, I have said it out-- From cooking meals for hungry hired men And washing dishes after them--from doing Things over and over that just won't stay done.
By good rights I ought not to have so much Put on me, but there seems no other way.
Len says one steady pull more ought to do it.
He says the best way out is always through.
And I agree to that, or in so far As that I can see no way out but through-- Leastways for me--and then they'll be convinced.
It's not that Len don't want the best for me.
It was his plan our moving over in Beside the lake from where that day I showed you We used to live--ten miles from anywhere.
We didn't change without some sacrifice, But Len went at it to make up the loss.
His work's a man's, of course, from sun to sun, But he works when he works as hard as I do-- Though there's small profit in comparisons.
(Women and men will make them all the same.
) But work ain't all.
Len undertakes too much.
He's into everything in town.
This year It's highways, and he's got too many men Around him to look after that make waste.
They take advantage of him shamefully, And proud, too, of themselves for doing so.
We have four here to board, great good-for-nothings, Sprawling about the kitchen with their talk While I fry their bacon.
Much they care! No more put out in what they do or say Than if I wasn't in the room at all.
Coming and going all the time, they are: I don't learn what their names are, let alone Their characters, or whether they are safe To have inside the house with doors unlocked.
I'm not afraid of them, though, if they're not Afraid of me.
There's two can play at that.
I have my fancies: it runs in the family.
My father's brother wasn't right.
They kept him Locked up for years back there at the old farm.
I've been away once--yes, I've been away.
The State Asylum.
I was prejudiced; I wouldn't have sent anyone of mine there; You know the old idea--the only asylum Was the poorhouse, and those who could afford, Rather than send their folks to such a place, Kept them at home; and it does seem more human.
But it's not so: the place is the asylum.
There they have every means proper to do with, And you aren't darkening other people's lives-- Worse than no good to them, and they no good To you in your condition; you can't know Affection or the want of it in that state.
I've heard too much of the old-fashioned way.
My father's brother, he went mad quite young.
Some thought he had been bitten by a dog, Because his violence took on the form Of carrying his pillow in his teeth; But it's more likely he was crossed in love, Or so the story goes.
It was some girl.
Anyway all he talked about was love.
They soon saw he would do someone a mischief If he wa'n't kept strict watch of, and it ended In father's building him a sort of cage, Or room within a room, of hickory poles, Like stanchions in the barn, from floor to ceiling,-- A narrow passage all the way around.
Anything they put in for furniture He'd tear to pieces, even a bed to lie on.
So they made the place comfortable with straw, Like a beast's stall, to ease their consciences.
Of course they had to feed him without dishes.
They tried to keep him clothed, but he paraded With his clothes on his arm--all of his clothes.
Cruel--it sounds.
I 'spose they did the best They knew.
And just when he was at the height, Father and mother married, and mother came, A bride, to help take care of such a creature, And accommodate her young life to his.
That was what marrying father meant to her.
She had to lie and hear love things made dreadful By his shouts in the night.
He'd shout and shout Until the strength was shouted out of him, And his voice died down slowly from exhaustion.
He'd pull his bars apart like bow and bow-string, And let them go and make them twang until His hands had worn them smooth as any ox-bow.
And then he'd crow as if he thought that child's play-- The only fun he had.
I've heard them say, though, They found a way to put a stop to it.
He was before my time--I never saw him; But the pen stayed exactly as it was There in the upper chamber in the ell, A sort of catch-all full of attic clutter.
I often think of the smooth hickory bars.
It got so I would say--you know, half fooling-- "It's time I took my turn upstairs in jail"-- Just as you will till it becomes a habit.
No wonder I was glad to get away.
Mind you, I waited till Len said the word.
I didn't want the blame if things went wrong.
I was glad though, no end, when we moved out, And I looked to be happy, and I was, As I said, for a while--but I don't know! Somehow the change wore out like a prescription.
And there's more to it than just window-views And living by a lake.
I'm past such help-- Unless Len took the notion, which he won't, And I won't ask him--it's not sure enough.
I 'spose I've got to go the road I'm going: Other folks have to, and why shouldn't I? I almost think if I could do like you, Drop everything and live out on the ground-- But it might be, come night, I shouldn't like it, Or a long rain.
I should soon get enough, And be glad of a good roof overhead.
I've lain awake thinking of you, I'll warrant, More than you have yourself, some of these nights.
The wonder was the tents weren't snatched away From over you as you lay in your beds.
I haven't courage for a risk like that.
Bless you, of course, you're keeping me from work, But the thing of it is, I need to be kept.
There's work enough to do--there's always that; But behind's behind.
The worst that you can do Is set me back a little more behind.
I sha'n't catch up in this world, anyway.
I'd rather you'd not go unless you must.
Written by Robert Frost | Create an image from this poem

Wild Grapes

 What tree may not the fig be gathered from?  
The grape may not be gathered from the birch?
It's all you know the grape, or know the birch.
As a girl gathered from the birch myself Equally with my weight in grapes, one autumn, I ought to know what tree the grape is fruit of.
I was born, I suppose, like anyone, And grew to be a little boyish girl My brother could not always leave at home.
But that beginning was wiped out in fear The day I swung suspended with the grapes, And was come after like Eurydice And brought down safely from the upper regions; And the life I live now's an extra life I can waste as I please on whom I please.
So if you see me celebrate two birthdays, And give myself out of two different ages, One of them five years younger than I look- One day my brother led me to a glade Where a white birch he knew of stood alone, Wearing a thin head-dress of pointed leaves, And heavy on her heavy hair behind, Against her neck, an ornament of grapes.
Grapes, I knew grapes from having seen them last year.
One bunch of them, and there began to be Bunches all round me growing in white birches, The way they grew round Leif the Lucky's German; Mostly as much beyond my lifted hands, though, As the moon used to seem when I was younger, And only freely to be had for climbing.
My brother did the climbing; and at first Threw me down grapes to miss and scatter And have to hunt for in sweet fern and hardhack; Which gave him some time to himself to eat, But not so much, perhaps, as a boy needed.
So then, to make me wholly self-supporting, He climbed still higher and bent the tree to earth And put it in my hands to pick my own grapes.
"Here, take a tree-top, I'll get down another.
Hold on with all your might when I let go.
" I said I had the tree.
It wasn't true.
The opposite was true.
The tree had me.
The minute it was left with me alone It caught me up as if I were the fish And it the fishpole.
So I was translated To loud cries from my brother of "Let go! Don't you know anything, you girl? Let go!" But I, with something of the baby grip Acquired ancestrally in just such trees When wilder mothers than our wildest now Hung babies out on branches by the hands To dry or wash or tan, I don't know which, (You'll have to ask an evolutionist)- I held on uncomplainingly for life.
My brother tried to make me laugh to help me.
"What are you doing up there in those grapes? Don't be afraid.
A few of them won't hurt you.
I mean, they won't pick you if you don't them.
" Much danger of my picking anything! By that time I was pretty well reduced To a philosophy of hang-and-let-hang.
"Now you know how it feels," my brother said, "To be a bunch of fox-grapes, as they call them, That when it thinks it has escaped the fox By growing where it shouldn't-on a birch, Where a fox wouldn't think to look for it- And if he looked and found it, couldn't reach it- Just then come you and I to gather it.
Only you have the advantage of the grapes In one way: you have one more stem to cling by, And promise more resistance to the picker.
" One by one I lost off my hat and shoes, And still I clung.
I let my head fall back, And shut my eyes against the sun, my ears Against my brother's nonsense; "Drop," he said, "I'll catch you in my arms.
It isn't far.
" (Stated in lengths of him it might not be.
) "Drop or I'll shake the tree and shake you down.
" Grim silence on my part as I sank lower, My small wrists stretching till they showed the banjo strings.
"Why, if she isn't serious about it! Hold tight awhile till I think what to do.
I'll bend the tree down and let you down by it.
" I don't know much about the letting down; But once I felt ground with my stocking feet And the world came revolving back to me, I know I looked long at my curled-up fingers, Before I straightened them and brushed the bark off.
My brother said: "Don't you weigh anything? Try to weigh something next time, so you won't Be run off with by birch trees into space.
" It wasn't my not weighing anything So much as my not knowing anything- My brother had been nearer right before.
I had not taken the first step in knowledge; I had not learned to let go with the hands, As still I have not learned to with the heart, And have no wish to with the heart-nor need, That I can see.
The mind-is not the heart.
I may yet live, as I know others live, To wish in vain to let go with the mind- Of cares, at night, to sleep; but nothing tells me That I need learn to let go with the heart.
Written by Robert Frost | Create an image from this poem

A Hundred Collars

 Lancaster bore him--such a little town, 
Such a great man.
It doesn't see him often Of late years, though he keeps the old homestead And sends the children down there with their mother To run wild in the summer--a little wild.
Sometimes he joins them for a day or two And sees old friends he somehow can't get near.
They meet him in the general store at night, Pre-occupied with formidable mail, Rifling a printed letter as he talks.
They seem afraid.
He wouldn't have it so: Though a great scholar, he's a democrat, If not at heart, at least on principle.
Lately when coming up to Lancaster His train being late he missed another train And had four hours to wait at Woodsville Junction After eleven o'clock at night.
Too tired To think of sitting such an ordeal out, He turned to the hotel to find a bed.
"No room," the night clerk said.
"Unless----" Woodsville's a place of shrieks and wandering lamps And cars that shook and rattle--and one hotel.
"You say 'unless.
'" "Unless you wouldn't mind Sharing a room with someone else.
" "Who is it?" "A man.
" "So I should hope.
What kind of man?" "I know him: he's all right.
A man's a man.
Separate beds of course you understand.
" The night clerk blinked his eyes and dared him on.
"Who's that man sleeping in the office chair? Has he had the refusal of my chance?" "He was afraid of being robbed or murdered.
What do you say?" "I'll have to have a bed.
" The night clerk led him up three flights of stairs And down a narrow passage full of doors, At the last one of which he knocked and entered.
"Lafe, here's a fellow wants to share your room.
" "Show him this way.
I'm not afraid of him.
I'm not so drunk I can't take care of myself.
" The night clerk clapped a bedstead on the foot.
"This will be yours.
Good-night," he said, and went.
"Lafe was the name, I think?" "Yes, Layfayette.
You got it the first time.
And yours?" "Magoon.
Doctor Magoon.
" "A Doctor?" "Well, a teacher.
" "Professor Square-the-circle-till-you're-tired? Hold on, there's something I don't think of now That I had on my mind to ask the first Man that knew anything I happened in with.
I'll ask you later--don't let me forget it.
" The Doctor looked at Lafe and looked away.
A man? A brute.
Naked above the waist, He sat there creased and shining in the light, Fumbling the buttons in a well-starched shirt.
"I'm moving into a size-larger shirt.
I've felt mean lately; mean's no name for it.
I just found what the matter was to-night: I've been a-choking like a nursery tree When it outgrows the wire band of its name tag.
I blamed it on the hot spell we've been having.
'Twas nothing but my foolish hanging back, Not liking to own up I'd grown a size.
Number eighteen this is.
What size do you wear?" The Doctor caught his throat convulsively.
" "Fourteen! You say so! I can remember when I wore fourteen.
And come to think I must have back at home More than a hundred collars, size fourteen.
Too bad to waste them all.
You ought to have them.
They're yours and welcome; let me send them to you.
What makes you stand there on one leg like that? You're not much furtherer than where Kike left you.
You act as if you wished you hadn't come.
Sit down or lie down, friend; you make me nervous.
" The Doctor made a subdued dash for it, And propped himself at bay against a pillow.
"Not that way, with your shoes on Kike's white bed.
You can't rest that way.
Let me pull your shoes off.
" "Don't touch me, please--I say, don't touch me, please.
I'll not be put to bed by you, my man.
" "Just as you say.
Have it your own way then.
'My man' is it? You talk like a professor.
Speaking of who's afraid of who, however, I'm thinking I have more to lose than you If anything should happen to be wrong.
Who wants to cut your number fourteen throat! Let's have a show down as an evidence Of good faith.
There is ninety dollars.
Come, if you're not afraid.
" "I'm not afraid.
There's five: that's all I carry.
" "I can search you? Where are you moving over to? Stay still.
You'd better tuck your money under you And sleep on it the way I always do When I'm with people I don't trust at night.
" "Will you believe me if I put it there Right on the counterpane--that I do trust you?" "You'd say so, Mister Man.
--I'm a collector.
My ninety isn't mine--you won't think that.
I pick it up a dollar at a time All round the country for the Weekly News, Published in Bow.
You know the Weekly News?" "Known it since I was young.
" "Then you know me.
Now we are getting on together--talking.
I'm sort of Something for it at the front.
My business is to find what people want: They pay for it, and so they ought to have it.
Fairbanks, he says to me--he's editor-- Feel out the public sentiment--he says.
A good deal comes on me when all is said.
The only trouble is we disagree In politics: I'm Vermont Democrat-- You know what that is, sort of double-dyed; The News has always been Republican.
Fairbanks, he says to me, 'Help us this year,' Meaning by us their ticket.
'No,' I says, 'I can't and won't.
You've been in long enough: It's time you turned around and boosted us.
You'll have to pay me more than ten a week If I'm expected to elect Bill Taft.
I doubt if I could do it anyway.
'" "You seem to shape the paper's policy.
" "You see I'm in with everybody, know 'em all.
I almost know their farms as well as they do.
" "You drive around? It must be pleasant work.
" "It's business, but I can't say it's not fun.
What I like best's the lay of different farms, Coming out on them from a stretch of woods, Or over a hill or round a sudden corner.
I like to find folks getting out in spring, Raking the dooryard, working near the house.
Later they get out further in the fields.
Everything's shut sometimes except the barn; The family's all away in some back meadow.
There's a hay load a-coming--when it comes.
And later still they all get driven in: The fields are stripped to lawn, the garden patches Stripped to bare ground, the apple trees To whips and poles.
There's nobody about.
The chimney, though, keeps up a good brisk smoking.
And I lie back and ride.
I take the reins Only when someone's coming, and the mare Stops when she likes: I tell her when to go.
I've spoiled Jemima in more ways than one.
She's got so she turns in at every house As if she had some sort of curvature, No matter if I have no errand there.
She thinks I'm sociable.
I maybe am.
It's seldom I get down except for meals, though.
Folks entertain me from the kitchen doorstep, All in a family row down to the youngest.
" "One would suppose they might not be as glad To see you as you are to see them.
" "Oh, Because I want their dollar.
I don't want Anything they've not got.
I never dun.
I'm there, and they can pay me if they like.
I go nowhere on purpose: I happen by.
Sorry there is no cup to give you a drink.
I drink out of the bottle--not your style.
Mayn't I offer you----?" "No, no, no, thank you.
" "Just as you say.
Here's looking at you then.
-- And now I'm leaving you a little while.
You'll rest easier when I'm gone, perhaps-- Lie down--let yourself go and get some sleep.
But first--let's see--what was I going to ask you? Those collars--who shall I address them to, Suppose you aren't awake when I come back?" "Really, friend, I can't let you.
You--may need them.
" "Not till I shrink, when they'll be out of style.
" "But really I--I have so many collars.
" "I don't know who I rather would have have them.
They're only turning yellow where they are.
But you're the doctor as the saying is.
I'll put the light out.
Don't you wait for me: I've just begun the night.
You get some sleep.
I'll knock so-fashion and peep round the door When I come back so you'll know who it is.
There's nothing I'm afraid of like scared people.
I don't want you should shoot me in the head.
What am I doing carrying off this bottle? There now, you get some sleep.
" He shut the door.
The Doctor slid a little down the pillow.
Written by Charles Bukowski | Create an image from this poem

O We Are The Outcasts

 ah, christ, what a CREW:
poetry, always more
P O E T R Y .
if it doesn't come, coax it out with a laxative.
get your name in LIGHTS, get it up there in 8 1/2 x 11 mimeo.
keep it coming like a miracle.
ah christ, writers are the most sickening of all the louts! yellow-toothed, slump-shouldered, gutless, flea-bitten and obvious .
in tinker-toy rooms with their flabby hearts they tell us what's wrong with the world- as if we didn't know that a cop's club can crack the head and that war is a dirtier game than marriage .
or down in a basement bar hiding from a wife who doesn't appreciate him and children he doesn't want he tells us that his heart is drowning in vomit.
hell, all our hearts are drowning in vomit, in pork salt, in bad verse, in soggy love.
but he thinks he's alone and he thinks he's special and he thinks he's Rimbaud and he thinks he's Pound.
and death! how about death? did you know that we all have to die? even Keats died, even Milton! and D.
Thomas-THEY KILLED HIM, of course.
Thomas didn't want all those free drinks all that free pussy- they .
FORCED IT ON HIM when they should have left him alone so he could write write WRITE! poets.
and there's another type.
I've met them at their country places (don't ask me what I was doing there because I don't know).
they were born with money and they don't have to dirty their hands in slaughterhouses or washing dishes in grease joints or driving cabs or pimping or selling pot.
this gives them time to understand Life.
they walk in with their cocktail glass held about heart high and when they drink they just sip.
you are drinking green beer which you brought with you because you have found out through the years that rich bastards are tight- they use 5 cent stamps instead of airmail they promise to have all sorts of goodies ready upon your arrival from gallons of whisky to 50 cent cigars.
but it's never there.
and they HIDE their women from you- their wives, x-wives, daughters, maids, so forth, because they've read your poems and figure all you want to do is **** everybody and everything.
which once might have been true but is no longer quite true.
and- he WRITES TOO.
POETRY, of course.
everybody writes poetry.
he has plenty of time and a postoffice box in town and he drives there 3 or 4 times a day looking and hoping for accepted poems.
he thinks that poverty is a weakness of the soul.
he thinks your mind is ill because you are drunk all the time and have to work in a factory 10 or 12 hours a night.
he brings his wife in, a beauty, stolen from a poorer rich man.
he lets you gaze for 30 seconds then hustles her out.
she has been crying for some reason.
you've got 3 or 4 days to linger in the guesthouse he says, "come on over to dinner sometime.
" but he doesn't say when or where.
and then you find out that you are not even IN HIS HOUSE.
you are in ONE of his houses but his house is somewhere else- you don't know where.
he even has x-wives in some of his houses.
his main concern is to keep his x-wives away from you.
he doesn't want to give up a damn thing.
and you can't blame him: his x-wives are all young, stolen, kept, talented, well-dressed, schooled, with varying French-German accents.
and!: they WRITE POETRY TOO.
or ****.
but his big problem is to get down to that mail box in town to get back his rejected poems and to keep his eye on all the other mail boxes in all his other houses.
meanwhile, the starving Indians sell beads and baskets in the streets of the small desert town.
the Indians are not allowed in his houses not so much because they are a ****-threat but because they are dirty and ignorant.
dirty? I look down at my shirt with the beerstain on the front.
ignorant? I light a 6 cent cigar and forget about it.
he or they or somebody was supposed to meet me at the train station.
of course, they weren't there.
"We'll be there to meet the great Poet!" well, I looked around and didn't see any great poet.
besides it was 7 a.
and 40 degrees.
those things happen.
the trouble was there were no bars open.
nothing open.
not even a jail.
he's a poet.
he's also a doctor, a head-shrinker.
no blood involved that way.
he won't tell me whether I am crazy or not-I don't have the money.
he walks out with his cocktail glass disappears for 2 hours, 3 hours, then suddenly comes walking back in unannounced with the same cocktail glass to make sure I haven't gotten hold of something more precious than Life itself.
my cheap green beer is killing me.
he shows heart (hurrah) and gives me a little pill that stops my gagging.
but nothing decent to drink.
he'd bought a small 6 pack for my arrival but that was gone in an hour and 15 minutes.
"I'll buy you barrels of beer," he had said.
I used his phone (one of his phones) to get deliveries of beer and cheap whisky.
the town was ten miles away, downhill.
I peeled my poor dollars from my poor roll.
and the boy needed a tip, of course.
the way it was shaping up I could see that I was hardly Dylan Thomas yet, not even Robert Creeley.
certainly Creeley wouldn't have had beerstains on his shirt.
anyhow, when I finally got hold of one of his x-wives I was too drunk to make it.
scared too.
sure, I imagined him peering through the window- he didn't want to give up a damn thing- and leveling the luger while I was working while "The March to the Gallows" was playing over the Muzak and shooting me in the *** first and my poor brain later.
"an intruder," I could hear him telling them, "ravishing one of my helpless x-wives.
" I see him published in some of the magazines now.
not very good stuff.
a poem about me too: the Polack.
the Polack whines too much.
the Polack whines about his country, other countries, all countries, the Polack works overtime in a factory like a fool, among other fools with "pre-drained spirits.
" the Polack drinks seas of green beer full of acid.
the Polack has an ulcerated hemorrhoid.
the Polack picks on fags "fragile fags.
" the Polack hates his wife, hates his daughter.
his daughter will become an alcoholic, a prostitute.
the Polack has an "obese burned out wife.
" the Polack has a spastic gut.
the Polack has a "rectal brain.
" thank you, Doctor (and poet).
any charge for this? I know I still owe you for the pill.
Your poem is not too good but at least I got your starch up.
most of your stuff is about as lively as a wet and deflated beachball.
but it is your round, you've won a round.
going to invite me out this Summer? I might scrape up trainfare.
got an Indian friend who'd like to meet you and yours.
he swears he's got the biggest pecker in the state of California.
and guess what? he writes POETRY too!
Written by Charles Baudelaire | Create an image from this poem


 When, by decree of the supreme power,
The Poet appears in this annoyed world,
His mother, blasphemous out of horror
At God's pity, cries out with fists curled:

"Ah! I'd rather You'd will me a snake's skin
Than to keep feeding this monstrous slur!
I curse that night's ephemera are sins
To make my womb atone for pleasure.
"Since You have chosen me from all the brides To bear the disgust of my dolorous groom And since I can't throw back into the fires Like an old love letter this gaunt buffoon "I'll replace Your hate that overwhelms me On the instrument of Your wicked gloom And torture so well this miserable tree Its pestiferous buds will never bloom!" She chokes down the eucharist of venom, Not comprehending eternal designs, She prepares a Gehenna of her own, And consecrates a pyre of maternal crimes.
Yet, watched by an invisible seraph, The disinherited child is drunk on the sun And in all he devours and in all he quaffs Receives ambrosia, nectar and honey.
He plays with the wind, chats with the vapors, Deliriously sings the stations of the cross; And the Spirit who follows him in his capers Cries at his joy like a bird in the forest.
Those whom he longs to love look with disdain And dread, strengthened by his tranquillity, They seek to make him complain of his pain So they may try out their ferocity.
In the bread and wine destined for his lips, They mix in cinders and spit with their wrath, And throw out all he touches as he grasps it, And accuse him of putting his feet in their path.
His wife cries out so that everyone hears: "Since he finds me good enough to adore I'll weave as the idols of ancient years A corona of gold as a cover.
"I'll get drunk on nard, incense and myrrh, Get down on bent knee with meats and wines To see if in a heart that admires, My smile denies deference to the divine.
"And, when I tire of these impious farces, I'll arrange for him my frail and hard nails Sharpened just like the claws of a harpy That out of his heart will carve a trail.
"Like a baby bird trembling in the nest I'll dig out his heart all red from my breast To slake the thirst of my favorite pet, And will throw it on the ground with contempt!" Toward the sky, where he sees a great host, The poet, serene, lifts his pious arms high And the vast lightning of his lucid ghost Blinds him to the furious people nearby: "Glory to God, who leaves us to suffer To cure us of all our impurities And like the best, most rarefied buffer Prepares the strong for a saint's ecstasies! "I know that You hold a place for the Poet In the ranks of the blessed and the saint's legions, That You invite him to an eternal fete Of thrones, of virtues, of dominations.
"I know only sorrow is unequaled, It cannot be encroached on from Hell or Earth And if I am to braid my mystic wreath, May I impose it on the universe.
"But the ancient jewels of lost Palmyra, The unknown metals, pearls from the ocean By Your hand mounted, they do not suffice, They cannot dazzle as clearly as this crown "For it will not be made except from halos Drawn of pure light in a holy portal Whose entire splendor, in the eyes of mortals Is only a mirror, obscure and mournful.
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem


 Because I have ten thousand pounds I sit upon my stern,
And leave my living tranquilly for other folks to earn.
For in some procreative way that isn't very clear, Ten thousand pounds will breed, they say, five hundred every year.
So as I have a healthy hate of economic strife, I mean to stand aloof from it the balance of my life.
And yet with sympathy I see the grimy son of toil, And heartly congratulate the tiller of the soil.
I like the miner in the mine, the sailor on the sea, Because up to five hundred pounds they sail and mine for me.
For me their toil is taxed unto that annual extent, According to the holy shibboleth of Five-per-Cent.
So get ten thousand pounds, my friend, in any way you can.
And leave your future welfare to the noble Working Man.
He'll buy you suits of Harris tweed, an Airedale and a car; Your golf clubs and your morning Times, your whisky and cigar.
He'll cosily install you in a cottage by a stream, With every modern comfort, and a garden that's a dream> Or if your tastes be urban, he'll provide you with a flat, Secluded from the clamour of the proletariat.
With pictures, music, easy chairs, a table of good cheer, A chap can manage nicely on five hundred pounds a year.
And though around you painful signs of industry you view, Why should you work when you can make your money work for you? So I'll get down upon my knees and bless the Working Man, Who offers me a life of ease through all my mortal span; Whose loins are lean to make me fat, who slaves to keep me free, Who dies before his prime to let me round the century; Whose wife and children toil in urn until their strength is spent, That I may live in idleness upon my five-per-cent.
And if at times they curse me, why should I feel any blame? For in my place I know that they would do the very same.
Aye, though hey hoist a flag that's red on Sunday afternoon, Just offer them ten thousand pounds and see them change their tune.
So I'll enjoy my dividends and live my life with zest, And bless the mighty men who first - invented Interest.
Written by James Whitcomb Riley | Create an image from this poem

Knee-Deep in June

 Tell you what I like the best -- 
'Long about knee-deep in June, 
'Bout the time strawberries melts 
On the vine, -- some afternoon 
Like to jes' git out and rest, 
And not work at nothin' else! 

Orchard's where I'd ruther be -- 
Needn't fence it in fer me! -- 
Jes' the whole sky overhead, 
And the whole airth underneath -- 
Sort o' so's a man kin breathe 
Like he ort, and kind o' has 
Elbow-room to keerlessly 
Sprawl out len'thways on the grass 
Where the shadders thick and soft 
As the kivvers on the bed 
Mother fixes in the loft 
Allus, when they's company! 

Jes' a-sort o' lazin there - 
S'lazy, 'at you peek and peer 
Through the wavin' leaves above, 
Like a feller 'ats in love 
And don't know it, ner don't keer! 
Ever'thing you hear and see 
Got some sort o' interest - 
Maybe find a bluebird's nest 
Tucked up there conveenently 
Fer the boy 'at's ap' to be 
Up some other apple tree! 
Watch the swallers skootin' past 
Bout as peert as you could ast; 
Er the Bob-white raise and whiz 
Where some other's whistle is.
Ketch a shadder down below, And look up to find the crow -- Er a hawk, - away up there, 'Pearantly froze in the air! -- Hear the old hen squawk, and squat Over ever' chick she's got, Suddent-like! - and she knows where That-air hawk is, well as you! -- You jes' bet yer life she do! -- Eyes a-glitterin' like glass, Waitin' till he makes a pass! Pee-wees wingin', to express My opinion, 's second-class, Yit you'll hear 'em more er less; Sapsucks gittin' down to biz, Weedin' out the lonesomeness; Mr.
Bluejay, full o' sass, In them baseball clothes o' his, Sportin' round the orchad jes' Like he owned the premises! Sun out in the fields kin sizz, But flat on yer back, I guess, In the shade's where glory is! That's jes' what I'd like to do Stiddy fer a year er two! Plague! Ef they ain't somepin' in Work 'at kind o' goes ag'in' My convictions! - 'long about Here in June especially! -- Under some ole apple tree, Jes' a-restin through and through, I could git along without Nothin' else at all to do Only jes' a-wishin' you Wuz a-gittin' there like me, And June wuz eternity! Lay out there and try to see Jes' how lazy you kin be! -- Tumble round and souse yer head In the clover-bloom, er pull Yer straw hat acrost yer eyes And peek through it at the skies, Thinkin' of old chums 'ats dead, Maybe, smilin' back at you In betwixt the beautiful Clouds o'gold and white and blue! -- Month a man kin railly love -- June, you know, I'm talkin' of! March ain't never nothin' new! -- April's altogether too Brash fer me! and May -- I jes' 'Bominate its promises, -- Little hints o' sunshine and Green around the timber-land -- A few blossoms, and a few Chip-birds, and a sprout er two, -- Drap asleep, and it turns in Fore daylight and snows ag'in! -- But when June comes - Clear my th'oat With wild honey! -- Rench my hair In the dew! And hold my coat! Whoop out loud! And th'ow my hat! -- June wants me, and I'm to spare! Spread them shadders anywhere, I'll get down and waller there, And obleeged to you at that!
Written by John Betjeman | Create an image from this poem


 Oh would I could subdue the flesh
Which sadly troubles me! 
And then perhaps could view the flesh
As though I never knew the flesh
And merry misery.
To see the golden hiking girl With wind about her hair, The tennis-playing, biking girl, The wholly-to-my-liking girl, To see and not to care.
At sundown on my tricycle I tour the Borough’s edge, And icy as an icicle See bicycle by bicycle Stacked waiting in the hedge.
Get down from me! I thunder there, You spaniels! Shut your jaws! Your teeth are stuffed with underwear, Suspenders torn asunder there And buttocks in your paws! Oh whip the dogs away my Lord, They make me ill with lust.
Bend bare knees down to pray, my Lord, Teach sulky lips to say, my Lord, That flaxen hair is dust.
Written by A R Ammons | Create an image from this poem

Called Into Play

 Fall fell: so that's it for the leaf poetry:
some flurries have whitened the edges of roads

and lawns: time for that, the snow stuff: &
turkeys and old St.
Nick: where am I going to find something to write about I haven't already written away: I will have to stop short, look down, look up, look close, think, think, think: but in what range should I think: should I figure colors and outlines, given forms, say mailboxes, or should I try to plumb what is behind what and what behind that, deep down where the surface has lost its semblance: or should I think personally, such as, this week seems to have been crafted in hell: what: is something going on: something besides this diddledeediddle everyday matter-of-fact: I could draw up an ancient memory which would wipe this whole presence away: or I could fill out my dreams with high syntheses turned into concrete visionary forms: Lucre could lust for Luster: bad angels could roar out of perdition and kill the AIDS vaccine not quite perfected yet: the gods could get down on each other; the big gods could fly in from nebulae unknown: but I'm only me: I have 4 interests--money, poetry, sex, death: I guess I can jostle those.