Ogden Nash |
In Baltimore there lived a boy.
He wasn't anybody's joy.
Although his name was Jabez Dawes,
His character was full of flaws.
In school he never led his classes,
He hid old ladies' reading glasses,
His mouth was open when he chewed,
And elbows to the table glued.
He stole the milk of hungry kittens,
And walked through doors marked NO ADMITTANCE.
He said he acted thus because
There wasn't any Santa Claus.
Another trick that tickled Jabez
Was crying 'Boo' at little babies.
He brushed his teeth, they said in town,
Sideways instead of up and down.
Yet people pardoned every sin,
And viewed his antics with a grin,
Till they were told by Jabez Dawes,
'There isn't any Santa Claus!'
Deploring how he did behave,
His parents swiftly sought their grave.
They hurried through the portals pearly,
And Jabez left the funeral early.
Like whooping cough, from child to child,
He sped to spread the rumor wild:
'Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes
There isn't any Santa Claus!'
Slunk like a weasel of a marten
Through nursery and kindergarten,
Whispering low to every tot,
'There isn't any, no there's not!'
The children wept all Christmas eve
And Jabez chortled up his sleeve.
No infant dared hang up his stocking
For fear of Jabez' ribald mocking.
He sprawled on his untidy bed,
Fresh malice dancing in his head,
When presently with scalp-a-tingling,
Jabez heard a distant jingling;
He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof
Crisply alighting on the roof.
What good to rise and bar the door?
A shower of soot was on the floor.
What was beheld by Jabez Dawes?
The fireplace full of Santa Claus!
Then Jabez fell upon his knees
With cries of 'Don't,' and 'Pretty Please.
He howled, 'I don't know where you read it,
But anyhow, I never said it!'
'Jabez' replied the angry saint,
'It isn't I, it's you that ain't.
Although there is a Santa Claus,
There isn't any Jabez Dawes!'
Said Jabez then with impudent vim,
'Oh, yes there is, and I am him!
Your magic don't scare me, it doesn't'
And suddenly he found he wasn't!
From grimy feet to grimy locks,
Jabez became a Jack-in-the-box,
An ugly toy with springs unsprung,
Forever sticking out his tongue.
The neighbors heard his mournful squeal;
They searched for him, but not with zeal.
No trace was found of Jabez Dawes,
Which led to thunderous applause,
And people drank a loving cup
And went and hung their stockings up.
All you who sneer at Santa Claus,
Beware the fate of Jabez Dawes,
The saucy boy who mocked the saint.
Donner and Blitzen licked off his paint.
Delmore Schwartz |
I am a poet of the Hudson River and the heights above it,
the lights, the stars, and the bridges
I am also by self-appointment the laureate of the Atlantic
-of the peoples' hearts, crossing it
to new America.
I am burdened with the truck and chimera, hope,
acquired in the sweating sick-excited passage
in steerage, strange and estranged
Hence I must descry and describe the kingdom of emotion.
For I am a poet of the kindergarten (in the city)
and the cemetery (in the city)
And rapture and ragtime and also the secret city in the
heart and mind
This is the song of the natural city self in the 20th century.
It is true but only partly true that a city is a "tyranny of
(This is the chant of the urban metropolitan and
After the first two World Wars of the 20th century)
--- This is the city self, looking from window to lighted
When the squares and checks of faintly yellow light
Shine at night, upon a huge dim board and slab-like tombs,
Hiding many lives.
It is the city consciousness
Which sees and says: more: more and more: always more.
Yehuda Amichai |
God has pity on kindergarten children,
He pities school children -- less.
But adults he pities not at all.
He abandons them,
And sometimes they have to crawl on all fours
In the scorching sand
To reach the dressing station,
Streaming with blood.
He will have pity on those who love truly
And take care of them
And shade them
Like a tree over the sleeper on the public bench.
Perhaps even we will spend on them
Our last pennies of kindness
Inherited from mother,
So that their own happiness will protect us
Now and on other days.
Robert William Service |
In kindergarten classed
Dislike they knew;
And as the years went past
It grew and grew;
Until in maidenhood
Each sought a mate,
Then venom in their mood
Was almost hate.
The lure of love they learned
And they were wed;
Yet when they met each turned
Away a head;
Each went her waspish way
With muted damns--
Until they met one day
With baby prams.
Then lo! Away was swept
The scorn of years;
Hands clasped they almost wept
With gentle tears.
Forgetting hateful days,
All mother mild,
Each took with tender praise
The other's child.
And now they talk of milk,
Of diapers and such;
Of baby bosoms silk
And tender to the touch.
A gemlike girl and boy,--
With hope unsaid,
Each thinks with mother joy:
'May these two wed!'
Anne Sexton |
They sit in a row
outside the kindergarten,
black, red, brown, all
with those brass buckles.
Remember when you couldn't
buckle your own
or tie your own
or tie your own shoe
or cut your own meat
and the tears
running down like mud
because you fell off your
Remember, big fish,
when you couldn't swim
and simply slipped under
like a stone frog?
The world wasn't
It belonged to
the big people.
Under your bed
sat the wolf
and he made a shadow
when cars passed by
They made you give up
and your teddy
and your thumb.
pushing you up and down
in the winter snow?
I want a drink,
it is dark,
where are the big people,
when will I get there,
taking giant steps
nothing of it?
Chris Tusa |
She looks rather pathetic, really,
leaning against the black air,
the three mangled fingers of her left hand
clutching a yellow purse,
her right arm raised over her head
as if to shield herself
from the silver shower of stars
raining down upon her.
Her mouth is a crack
growing beneath her nose.
Two dimples open like holes
in her cheeks.
A pink ear
dangles from her chin.
Looking at it now, it's clear.
But who could have possibly know then
the dark shades of meaning
lurking in the shadow of her face,
the quiet relevance of the pearl necklace
swimming around her neck,
the orange birds drifting above her
like question marks?
Or that twenty years later
it would all make sense-
the way her eyes roll toward the sky,
the way my father stands behind her
in the crowd, arms waving
in the wind, as if he's slowly drowning
in the black sea of faces.