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Best Famous Walrus Poems

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Written by Lewis Carroll | Create an image from this poem

The Walrus and the Carpenter

The sun was shining on the sea,
   Shining with all his might;
He did his very best to make
   The billows smooth and bright—
And this was odd, because it was
   The middle of the night.
The moon was shining sulkily, Because she thought the sun Had got no business to be there After the day was done— "It's very rude of him," she said, "To come and spoil the fun!" The sea was wet as wet could be, The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because No cloud was in the sky; No birds were flying overhead— There were no birds to fly.
The Walrus and the Carpenter Were walking close at hand; They wept like anything to see Such quantities of sand.
"If this were only cleared away," They said, "it would be grand!" "If seven maids with seven mops Swept it for half a year, Do you suppose," the Walrus said, "That they could get it clear?" "I doubt it," said the Carpenter, And shed a bitter tear.
"O Oysters, come and walk with us!" The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk, Along the briny beach; We cannot do with more than four, To give a hand to each.
" The eldest Oyster looked at him, But never a word he said; The eldest Oyster winked his eye, And shook his heavy head— Meaning to say he did not choose To leave the oyster-bed.
But four young Oysters hurried up, All eager for the treat; Their coats were brushed, their faces washed, Their shoes were clean and neat— And this was odd, because, you know, They hadn't any feet.
Four other Oysters followed them, And yet another four; And thick and fast they came at last, And more, and more, and more— All hopping through the frothy waves, And scrambling to the shore.
The Walrus and the Carpenter Walked on a mile or so, And then they rested on a rock Conveniently low; And all the little Oysters stood And waited in a row.
"The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax— And cabbages—and kings— And why the sea is boiling hot— And whether pigs have wings.
" "But wait a bit," the Oysters cried, "Before we have our chat; For some of us are out of breath, And all of us are fat!" "No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said, "Is what we chiefly need; Pepper and vinegar besides Are very good indeed— Now if you're ready, Oysters dear, We can begin to feed.
" "But not on us!" the Oysters cried, Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be A dismal thing to do!" "The night is fine," the Walrus said, "Do you admire the view?" "It was so kind of you to come! And you are very nice!" The Carpenter said nothing but "Cut us another slice.
I wish you were not quite so deaf— I've had to ask you twice!" "It seems a shame," the Walrus said, "To play them such a trick, After we've brought them out so far, And made them trot so quick!" The Carpenter said nothing but "The butter's spread too thick!" "I weep for you," the Walrus said; "I deeply sympathize.
" With sobs and tears he sorted out Those of the largest size, Holding his pocket-handkerchief Before his streaming eyes.
"O Oysters," said the Carpenter, "You've had a pleasant run! Shall we be trotting home again?" But answer came there none— And this was scarcely odd, because They'd eaten every one.


Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

American Feuillage

 AMERICA always! 
Always our own feuillage! 
Always Florida’s green peninsula! Always the priceless delta of Louisiana! Always the
 cotton-fields of Alabama and Texas! 
Always California’s golden hills and hollows—and the silver mountains of New
 Mexico!
 Always soft-breath’d Cuba! 
Always the vast slope drain’d by the Southern Sea—inseparable with the slopes
 drain’d
 by the Eastern and Western Seas;
The area the eighty-third year of These States—the three and a half millions of
 square
 miles; 
The eighteen thousand miles of sea-coast and bay-coast on the main—the thirty
 thousand
 miles of
 river navigation, 
The seven millions of distinct families, and the same number of dwellings—Always
 these,
 and
 more, branching forth into numberless branches; 
Always the free range and diversity! always the continent of Democracy! 
Always the prairies, pastures, forests, vast cities, travelers, Kanada, the snows;
Always these compact lands—lands tied at the hips with the belt stringing the huge
 oval
 lakes; 
Always the West, with strong native persons—the increasing density there—the
 habitans,
 friendly, threatening, ironical, scorning invaders; 
All sights, South, North, East—all deeds, promiscuously done at all times, 
All characters, movements, growths—a few noticed, myriads unnoticed, 
Through Mannahatta’s streets I walking, these things gathering;
On interior rivers, by night, in the glare of pine knots, steamboats wooding up; 
Sunlight by day on the valley of the Susquehanna, and on the valleys of the Potomac and
 Rappahannock, and the valleys of the Roanoke and Delaware; 
In their northerly wilds, beasts of prey haunting the Adirondacks, the hills—or
 lapping
 the
 Saginaw waters to drink; 
In a lonesome inlet, a sheldrake, lost from the flock, sitting on the water, rocking
 silently; 
In farmers’ barns, oxen in the stable, their harvest labor done—they rest
 standing—they are too tired;
Afar on arctic ice, the she-walrus lying drowsily, while her cubs play around; 
The hawk sailing where men have not yet sail’d—the farthest polar sea, ripply,
 crystalline, open, beyond the floes; 
White drift spooning ahead, where the ship in the tempest dashes; 
On solid land, what is done in cities, as the bells all strike midnight together; 
In primitive woods, the sounds there also sounding—the howl of the wolf, the scream
 of the
 panther, and the hoarse bellow of the elk;
In winter beneath the hard blue ice of Moosehead Lake—in summer visible through the
 clear
 waters, the great trout swimming; 
In lower latitudes, in warmer air, in the Carolinas, the large black buzzard floating
 slowly,
 high
 beyond the tree tops, 
Below, the red cedar, festoon’d with tylandria—the pines and cypresses, growing
 out
 of the
 white sand that spreads far and flat; 
Rude boats descending the big Pedee—climbing plants, parasites, with color’d
 flowers
 and
 berries, enveloping huge trees, 
The waving drapery on the live oak, trailing long and low, noiselessly waved by the wind;
The camp of Georgia wagoners, just after dark—the supper-fires, and the cooking and
 eating
 by
 whites and negroes, 
Thirty or forty great wagons—the mules, cattle, horses, feeding from troughs, 
The shadows, gleams, up under the leaves of the old sycamore-trees—the
 flames—with
 the
 black smoke from the pitch-pine, curling and rising; 
Southern fishermen fishing—the sounds and inlets of North Carolina’s
 coast—the
 shad-fishery and the herring-fishery—the large sweep-seines—the windlasses on
 shore
 work’d by horses—the clearing, curing, and packing-houses; 
Deep in the forest, in piney woods, turpentine dropping from the incisions in the
 trees—There
 are the turpentine works,
There are the negroes at work, in good health—the ground in all directions is
 cover’d
 with
 pine straw: 
—In Tennessee and Kentucky, slaves busy in the coalings, at the forge, by the
 furnace-blaze, or
 at the corn-shucking; 
In Virginia, the planter’s son returning after a long absence, joyfully welcom’d
 and
 kiss’d by the aged mulatto nurse; 
On rivers, boatmen safely moor’d at night-fall, in their boats, under shelter of high
 banks, 
Some of the younger men dance to the sound of the banjo or fiddle—others sit on the
 gunwale,
 smoking and talking;
Late in the afternoon, the mocking-bird, the American mimic, singing in the Great Dismal
 Swamp—there are the greenish waters, the resinous odor, the plenteous moss, the
 cypress
 tree,
 and the juniper tree; 
—Northward, young men of Mannahatta—the target company from an excursion
 returning
 home at
 evening—the musket-muzzles all bear bunches of flowers presented by women; 
Children at play—or on his father’s lap a young boy fallen asleep, (how his lips
 move! how
 he smiles in his sleep!) 
The scout riding on horseback over the plains west of the Mississippi—he ascends a
 knoll
 and
 sweeps his eye around; 
California life—the miner, bearded, dress’d in his rude costume—the stanch
 California
 friendship—the sweet air—the graves one, in passing, meets, solitary, just
 aside the
 horsepath;
Down in Texas, the cotton-field, the negro-cabins—drivers driving mules or oxen
 before
 rude
 carts—cotton bales piled on banks and wharves; 
Encircling all, vast-darting, up and wide, the American Soul, with equal
 hemispheres—one
 Love,
 one Dilation or Pride; 
—In arriere, the peace-talk with the Iroquois, the aborigines—the calumet, the
 pipe
 of
 good-will, arbitration, and indorsement, 
The sachem blowing the smoke first toward the sun and then toward the earth, 
The drama of the scalp-dance enacted with painted faces and guttural exclamations,
The setting out of the war-party—the long and stealthy march, 
The single-file—the swinging hatchets—the surprise and slaughter of enemies; 
—All the acts, scenes, ways, persons, attitudes of These States—reminiscences,
 all
 institutions, 
All These States, compact—Every square mile of These States, without excepting a
 particle—you also—me also, 
Me pleas’d, rambling in lanes and country fields, Paumanok’s fields,
Me, observing the spiral flight of two little yellow butterflies, shuffling between each
 other,
 ascending high in the air; 
The darting swallow, the destroyer of insects—the fall traveler southward, but
 returning
 northward early in the spring; 
The country boy at the close of the day, driving the herd of cows, and shouting to them as
 they
 loiter to browse by the road-side; 
The city wharf—Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, San
 Francisco, 
The departing ships, when the sailors heave at the capstan;
—Evening—me in my room—the setting sun, 
The setting summer sun shining in my open window, showing the swarm of flies, suspended,
 balancing
 in the air in the centre of the room, darting athwart, up and down, casting swift shadows
 in
 specks
 on the opposite wall, where the shine is; 
The athletic American matron speaking in public to crowds of listeners; 
Males, females, immigrants, combinations—the copiousness—the individuality of
 The
 States,
 each for itself—the money-makers; 
Factories, machinery, the mechanical forces—the windlass, lever, pulley—All
 certainties,
The certainty of space, increase, freedom, futurity, 
In space, the sporades, the scatter’d islands, the stars—on the firm earth, the
 lands, my
 lands; 
O lands! all so dear to me—what you are, (whatever it is,) I become a part of that,
 whatever it
 is; 
Southward there, I screaming, with wings slowly flapping, with the myriads of gulls
 wintering
 along
 the coasts of Florida—or in Louisiana, with pelicans breeding; 
Otherways, there, atwixt the banks of the Arkansaw, the Rio Grande, the Nueces, the
 Brazos, the
 Tombigbee, the Red River, the Saskatchawan, or the Osage, I with the spring waters
 laughing
 and
 skipping and running;
Northward, on the sands, on some shallow bay of Paumanok, I, with parties of snowy herons
 wading in
 the wet to seek worms and aquatic plants; 
Retreating, triumphantly twittering, the king-bird, from piercing the crow with its bill,
 for
 amusement—And I triumphantly twittering; 
The migrating flock of wild geese alighting in autumn to refresh themselves—the body
 of
 the
 flock feed—the sentinels outside move around with erect heads watching, and are from
 time
 to
 time reliev’d by other sentinels—And I feeding and taking turns with the rest; 
In Kanadian forests, the moose, large as an ox, corner’d by hunters, rising
 desperately on
 his
 hind-feet, and plunging with his fore-feet, the hoofs as sharp as knives—And I,
 plunging
 at the
 hunters, corner’d and desperate; 
In the Mannahatta, streets, piers, shipping, store-houses, and the countless workmen
 working in
 the
 shops,
And I too of the Mannahatta, singing thereof—and no less in myself than the whole of
 the
 Mannahatta in itself, 
Singing the song of These, my ever united lands—my body no more inevitably united,
 part to
 part, and made one identity, any more than my lands are inevitably united, and made ONE
 IDENTITY; 
Nativities, climates, the grass of the great Pastoral Plains; 
Cities, labors, death, animals, products, war, good and evil—these me, 
These affording, in all their particulars, endless feuillage to me and to America, how can
 I do
 less
 than pass the clew of the union of them, to afford the like to you?
Whoever you are! how can I but offer you divine leaves, that you also be eligible as I am?

How can I but, as here, chanting, invite you for yourself to collect bouquets of the
 incomparable
 feuillage of These States?
Written by Craig Raine | Create an image from this poem

Nature Study

 (for Rona, Jeremy, Sam & Grace)

All the lizards are asleep--
perched pagodas with tiny triangular tiles,
each milky lid a steamed-up window.
Inside, the heart repeats itself like a sleepy gong, summoning nothing to nothing.
In winter time, the zoo reverts to metaphor, God's poetry of boredom: the cobra knits her Fair-Isle skin, rattlers titter over the same joke.
All of them endlessly finish spaghetti.
The python runs down like a spring, and time stops on some ancient Sabbath.
Pythagorean bees are shut inside the hive, which hymns and hums like Sunday chapel-- drowsy thoughts in a wrinkled brain.
The fire's gone out-- crocodiles lie like wet beams, cross-hatched by flames that no one can remember.
Grasshoppers shiver, chafe their limbs and try to keep warm, crouching on their marks perpetually.
The African cricket is trussed like a cold chicken: the sneeze of movement returns it to the same position, in the same body.
There is no change.
The rumple-headed lion has nowhere to go and snoozes in his grimy combinations.
A chaise lounge with missing castors, the walrus is stuck forever on his rock.
Sleepily, the seals play crib, scoring on their upper lips.
The chimps kill fleas and time, sewing nothing to nothing Five o'clock--perhaps.
Vultures in their shabby Sunday suits fidget with broken umbrellas, while the ape beats his breast and yodels out repentance.
Their feet are an awful dream of bunions-- but the buffalo's brazil nut bugle-horns can never sound reveille.
Written by Stanley Kunitz | Create an image from this poem

The Testing-Tree

 1

On my way home from school
up tribal Providence Hill
past the Academy ballpark
where I could never hope to play
I scuffed in the drainage ditch
among the sodden seethe of leaves
hunting for perfect stones
rolled out of glacial time
into my pitcher’s hand;
then sprinted lickety-
split on my magic Keds
from a crouching start,
scarcely touching the ground
with my flying skin
as I poured it on
for the prize of the mastery
over that stretch of road,
with no one no where to deny
when I flung myself down
that on the given course
I was the world’s fastest human.
2 Around the bend that tried to loop me home dawdling came natural across a nettled field riddled with rabbit-life where the bees sank sugar-wells in the trunks of the maples and a stringy old lilac more than two stories tall blazing with mildew remembered a door in the long teeth of the woods.
All of it happened slow: brushing the stickseed off, wading through jewelweed strangled by angel’s hair, spotting the print of the deer and the red fox’s scats.
Once I owned the key to an umbrageous trail thickened with mosses where flickering presences gave me right of passage as I followed in the steps of straight-backed Massassoit soundlessly heel-and-toe practicing my Indian walk.
3 Past the abandoned quarry where the pale sun bobbed in the sump of the granite, past copperhead ledge, where the ferns gave foothold, I walked, deliberate, on to the clearing, with the stones in my pocket changing to oracles and my coiled ear tuned to the slightest leaf-stir.
I had kept my appointment.
There I stood int he shadow, at fifty measured paces, of the inexhaustible oak, tyrant and target, Jehovah of acorns, watchtower of the thunders, that locked King Philip’s War in its annulated core under the cut of my name.
Father wherever you are I have only three throws bless my good right arm.
In the haze of afternoon, while the air flowed saffron, I played my game for keeps-- for love, for poetry, and for eternal life-- after the trials of summer.
4 In the recurring dream my mother stands in her bridal gown under the burning lilac, with Bernard Shaw and Bertie Russell kissing her hands; the house behind her is in ruins; she is wearing an owl’s face and makes barking noises.
Her minatory finger points.
I pass through the cardboard doorway askew in the field and peer down a well where an albino walrus huffs.
He has the gentlest eyes.
If the dirt keeps sifting in, staining the water yellow, why should I be blamed? Never try to explain.
That single Model A sputtering up the grade unfurled a highway behind where the tanks maneuver, revolving their turrets.
In a murderous time the heart breaks and breaks and lives by breaking.
It is necessary to go through dark and deeper dark and not to turn.
I am looking for the trail.
Where is my testing-tree? Give me back my stones!
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

Death In The Arctic

 I

I took the clock down from the shelf;
"At eight," said I, "I shoot myself.
" It lacked a minute of the hour, And as I waited all a-cower, A skinful of black, boding pain, Bits of my life came back again.
.
.
.
"Mother, there's nothing more to eat -- Why don't you go out on the street? Always you sit and cry and cry; Here at my play I wonder why.
Mother, when you dress up at night, Red are your cheeks, your eyes are bright; Twining a ribband in your hair, Kissing good-bye you go down-stair.
Then I'm as lonely as can be.
Oh, how I wish you were with me! Yet when you go out on the street, Mother, there's always lots to eat.
.
.
.
" II For days the igloo has been dark; But now the rag wick sends a spark That glitters in the icy air, And wakes frost sapphires everywhere; Bright, bitter flames, that adder-like Dart here and there, yet fear to strike The gruesome gloom wherein they lie, My comrades, oh, so keen to die! And I, the last -- well, here I wait The clock to strike the hour of eight.
.
.
.
"Boy, it is bitter to be hurled Nameless and naked on the world; Frozen by night and starved by day, Curses and kicks and clouts your pay.
But you must fight! Boy, look on me! Anarch of all earth-misery; Beggar and tramp and shameless sot; Emblem of ill, in rags that rot.
Would you be foul and base as I? Oh, it is better far to die! Swear to me now you'll fight and fight, Boy, or I'll kill you here to-night.
.
.
.
" III Curse this silence soft and black! Sting, little light, the shadows back! Dance, little flame, with freakish glee! Twinkle with brilliant mockery! Glitter on ice-robed roof and floor! Jewel the bear-skin of the door! Gleam in my beard, illume my breath, Blanch the clock face that times my death! But do not pierce that murk so deep, Where in their sleeping-bags they sleep! But do not linger where they lie, They who had all the luck to die! .
.
.
"There is nothing more to say; Let us part and go our way.
Since it seems we can't agree, I will go across the sea.
Proud of heart and strong am I; Not for woman will I sigh; Hold my head up gay and glad: You can find another lad.
.
.
.
" IV Above the igloo piteous flies Our frayed flag to the frozen skies.
Oh, would you know how earth can be A hell -- go north of Eighty-three! Go, scan the snows day after day, And hope for help, and pray and pray; Have seal-hide and sea-lice to eat; Melt water with your body's heat; Sleep all the fell, black winter through Beside the dear, dead men you knew.
(The walrus blubber flares and gleams -- O God! how long a minute seems!) .
.
.
"Mary, many a day has passed, Since that morn of hot-head youth.
Come I back at last, at last, Crushed with knowing of the truth; How through bitter, barren years You loved me, and me alone; Waited, wearied, wept your tears -- Oh, could I atone, atone, I would pay a million-fold! Pay you for the love you gave.
Mary, look down as of old -- I am kneeling by your grave.
" .
.
.
V Olaf, the Blonde, was first to go; Bitten his eyes were by the snow; Sightless and sealed his eyes of blue, So that he died before I knew.
Here in those poor weak arms he died: "Wolves will not get you, lad," I lied; "For I will watch till Spring come round; Slumber you shall beneath the ground.
" Oh, how I lied! I scarce can wait: Strike, little clock, the hour of eight! .
.
.
"Comrade, can you blame me quite? The horror of the long, long night Is on me, and I've borne with pain So long, and hoped for help in vain.
So frail am I, and blind and dazed; With scurvy sick, with silence crazed.
Beneath the Arctic's heel of hate, Avid for Death I wait, I wait.
Oh if I falter, fail to fight, Can you, dear comrade, blame me quite?" .
.
.
VI Big Eric gave up months ago.
But seldom do men suffer so.
His feet sloughed off, his fingers died, His hands shrunk up and mummified.
I had to feed him like a child; Yet he was valiant, joked and smiled, Talked of his wife and little one (Thanks be to God that I have none), Passed in the night without a moan, Passed, and I'm here, alone, alone.
.
.
.
"I've got to kill you, Dick.
Your life for mine, you know.
Better to do it quick, A swift and sudden blow.
See! here's my hand to lick; A hug before you go -- God! but it makes me sick: Old dog, I love you so.
Forgive, forgive me, Dick -- A swift and sudden blow.
.
.
.
" VII Often I start up in the dark, Thinking the sound of bells to hear.
Often I wake from sleep: "Oh, hark! Help .
.
.
it is coming .
.
.
near and near.
" Blindly I reel toward the door; There the snow billows bleak and bare; Blindly I seek my den once more, Silence and darkness and despair.
Oh, it is all a dreadful dream! Scurvy and cold and death and dearth; I will awake to warmth and gleam, Silvery seas and greening earth.
Life is a dream, its wakening, Death, gentle shadow of God's wing.
.
.
.
"Tick, little clock, my life away! Even a second seems a day.
Even a minute seems a year, Peopled with ghosts, that press and peer Into my face so charnel white, Lit by the devilish, dancing light.
Tick, little clock! mete out my fate: Tortured and tense I wait, I wait.
.
.
.
" VIII Oh, I have sworn! the hour is nigh: When it strikes eight, I die, I die.
Raise up the gun -- it stings my brow -- When it strikes eight .
.
.
all ready .
.
.
now -- * * * * * Down from my hand the weapon dropped; Wildly I stared.
.
.
.
THE CLOCK HAD STOPPED.
IX Phantoms and fears and ghosts have gone.
Peace seems to nestle in my brain.
Lo! the clock stopped, I'm living on; Heart-sick I was, and less than sane.
Yet do I scorn the thing I planned, Hearing a voice: "O coward, fight!" Then the clock stopped .
.
.
whose was the hand? Maybe 'twas God's -- ah well, all's right.
Heap on me darkness, fold on fold! Pain! wrench and rack me! What care I? Leap on me, hunger, thirst and cold! I will await my time to die; Looking to Heaven that shines above; Looking to God, and love .
.
.
and love.
X Hark! what is that? Bells, dogs again! Is it a dream? I sob and cry.
See! the door opens, fur-clad men Rush to my rescue; frail am I; Feeble and dying, dazed and glad.
There is the pistol where it dropped.
"Boys, it was hard -- but I'm not mad.
.
.
.
Look at the clock -- it stopped, it stopped.
Carry me out.
The heavens smile.
See! there's an arch of gold above.
Now, let me rest a little while -- Looking to God and Love .
.
.
and Love .
.
.
"


Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

Lucille

 Of course you've heard of the Nancy Lee, and how she sailed away
On her famous quest of the Arctic flea, to the wilds of Hudson's Bay?
For it was a foreign Prince's whim to collect this tiny cuss,
And a golden quid was no more to him than a copper to coves like us.
So we sailed away and our hearts were gay as we gazed on the gorgeous scene; And we laughed with glee as we caught the flea of the wolf and the wolverine; Yea, our hearts were light as the parasite of the ermine rat we slew, And the great musk ox, and the silver fox, and the moose and the caribou.
And we laughed with zest as the insect pest of the marmot crowned our zeal, And the wary mink and the wily "link", and the walrus and the seal.
And with eyes aglow on the scornful snow we danced a rigadoon, Round the lonesome lair of the Arctic hare, by the light of the silver moon.
But the time was nigh to homeward hie, when, imagine our despair! For the best of the lot we hadn't got -- the flea of the polar bear.
Oh, his face was long and his breath was strong, as the Skipper he says to me: "I wants you to linger 'ere, my lad, by the shores of the Hartic Sea; I wants you to 'unt the polar bear the perishin' winter through, And if flea ye find of its breed and kind, there's a 'undred quid for you.
" But I shook my head: "No, Cap," I said; "it's yourself I'd like to please, But I tells ye flat I wouldn't do that if ye went on yer bended knees.
" Then the Captain spat in the seething brine, and he says: "Good luck to you, If it can't be did for a 'undred quid, supposin' we call it two?" So that was why they said good-by, and they sailed and left me there -- Alone, alone in the Arctic Zone to hunt for the polar bear.
Oh, the days were slow and packed with woe, till I thought they would never end; And I used to sit when the fire was lit, with my pipe for my only friend.
And I tried to sing some rollicky thing, but my song broke off in a prayer, And I'd drowse and dream by the driftwood gleam; I'd dream of a polar bear; I'd dream of a cloudlike polar bear that blotted the stars on high, With ravenous jaws and flenzing claws, and the flames of hell in his eye.
And I'd trap around on the frozen ground, as a proper hunter ought, And beasts I'd find of every kind, but never the one I sought.
Never a track in the white ice-pack that humped and heaved and flawed, Till I came to think: "Why, strike me pink! if the creature ain't a fraud.
" And then one night in the waning light, as I hurried home to sup, I hears a roar by the cabin door, and a great white hulk heaves up.
So my rifle flashed, and a bullet crashed; dead, dead as a stone fell he, And I gave a cheer, for there in his ear -- Gosh ding me! -- a tiny flea.
At last, at last! Oh, I clutched it fast, and I gazed on it with pride; And I thrust it into a biscuit-tin, and I shut it safe inside; With a lid of glass for the light to pass, and space to leap and play; Oh, it kept alive; yea, seemed to thrive, as I watched it night and day.
And I used to sit and sing to it, and I shielded it from harm, And many a hearty feed it had on the heft of my hairy arm.
For you'll never know in that land of snow how lonesome a man can feel; So I made a fuss of the little cuss, and I christened it "Lucille".
But the longest winter has its end, and the ice went out to sea, And I saw one day a ship in the bay, and there was the Nancy Lee.
So a boat was lowered and I went aboard, and they opened wide their eyes -- Yes, they gave a cheer when the truth was clear, and they saw my precious prize.
And then it was all like a giddy dream; but to cut my story short, We sailed away on the fifth of May to the foreign Prince's court; To a palmy land and a palace grand, and the little Prince was there, And a fat Princess in a satin dress with a crown of gold on her hair.
And they showed me into a shiny room, just him and her and me, And the Prince he was pleased and friendly-like, and he calls for drinks for three.
And I shows them my battered biscuit-tin, and I makes my modest spiel, And they laughed, they did, when I opened the lid, and out there popped Lucille.
Oh, the Prince was glad, I could soon see that, and the Princess she was too; And Lucille waltzed round on the tablecloth as she often used to do.
And the Prince pulled out a purse of gold, and he put it in my hand; And he says: "It was worth all that, I'm told, to stay in that nasty land.
" And then he turned with a sudden cry, and he clutched at his royal beard; And the Princess screamed, and well she might -- for Lucille had disappeared.
"She must be here," said his Noble Nibbs, so we hunted all around; Oh, we searched that place, but never a trace of the little beast we found.
So I shook my head, and I glumly said: "Gol darn the saucy cuss! It's mighty *****, but she isn't here; so .
.
.
she must be on one of us.
You'll pardon me if I make so free, but -- there's just one thing to do: If you'll kindly go for a half a mo' I'll search me garments through.
" Then all alone on the shiny throne I stripped from head to heel; In vain, in vain; it was very plain that I hadn't got Lucille.
So I garbed again, and I told the Prince, and he scratched his august head; "I suppose if she hasn't selected you, it must be me," he said.
So he retired; but he soon came back, and his features showed distress: "Oh, it isn't you and it isn't me.
" .
.
.
Then we looked at the Princess.
So she retired; and we heard a scream, and she opened wide the door; And her fingers twain were pinched to pain, but a radiant smile she wore: "It's here," she cries, "our precious prize.
Oh, I found it right away.
.
.
.
" Then I ran to her with a shout of joy, but I choked with a wild dismay.
I clutched the back of the golden throne, and the room began to reel .
.
.
What she held to me was, ah yes! a flea, but .
.
.
it wasn't my Lucille.
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

World Below the Brine The

 THE world below the brine; 
Forests at the bottom of the sea—the branches and leaves, 
Sea-lettuce, vast lichens, strange flowers and seeds—the thick tangle, the openings,
 and
 the pink turf, 
Different colors, pale gray and green, purple, white, and gold—the play of light
 through
 the water, 
Dumb swimmers there among the rocks—coral, gluten, grass, rushes—and the aliment
 of
 the swimmers,
Sluggish existences grazing there, suspended, or slowly crawling close to the bottom, 
The sperm-whale at the surface, blowing air and spray, or disporting with his flukes, 
The leaden-eyed shark, the walrus, the turtle, the hairy sea-leopard, and the sting-ray; 
Passions there—wars, pursuits, tribes—sight in those ocean-depths—breathing
 that
 thick-breathing air, as so many do; 
The change thence to the sight here, and to the subtle air breathed by beings like us, who
 walk
 this sphere;
The change onward from ours, to that of beings who walk other spheres.
Written by Victor Hugo | Create an image from this poem

THE GIANT IN GLEE

 ("Ho, guerriers! je suis né dans le pays des Gaules.") 
 
 {V., March 11, 1825.} 


 Ho, warriors! I was reared in the land of the Gauls; 
 O'er the Rhine my ancestors came bounding like balls 
 Of the snow at the Pole, where, a babe, I was bathed 
 Ere in bear and in walrus-skin I was enswathed. 
 
 Then my father was strong, whom the years lowly bow,— 
 A bison could wallow in the grooves of his brow. 
 He is weak, very old—he can scarcely uptear 
 A young pine-tree for staff since his legs cease to bear; 
 
 But here's to replace him!—I can toy with his axe; 
 As I sit on the hill my feet swing in the flax, 
 And my knee caps the boulders and troubles the trees. 
 How they shiver, yea, quake if I happen to sneeze! 
 
 I was still but a springald when, cleaving the Alps, 
 I brushed snowy periwigs off granitic scalps, 
 And my head, o'er the pinnacles, stopped the fleet clouds, 
 Where I captured the eagles and caged them by crowds. 
 
 There were tempests! I blew them back into their source! 
 And put out their lightnings! More than once in a course, 
 Through the ocean I went wading after the whale, 
 And stirred up the bottom as did never a gale. 
 
 Fond of rambling, I hunted the shark 'long the beach, 
 And no osprey in ether soared out of my reach; 
 And the bear that I pinched 'twixt my finger and thumb, 
 Like the lynx and the wolf, perished harmless and dumb. 
 
 But these pleasures of childhood have lost all their zest; 
 It is warfare and carnage that now I love best: 
 The sounds that I wish to awaken and hear 
 Are the cheers raised by courage, the shrieks due to fear; 
 
 When the riot of flames, ruin, smoke, steel and blood, 
 Announces an army rolls along as a flood, 
 Which I follow, to harry the clamorous ranks, 
 Sharp-goading the laggards and pressing the flanks, 
 Till, a thresher 'mid ripest of corn, up I stand 
 With an oak for a flail in my unflagging hand. 
 
 Rise the groans! rise the screams! on my feet fall vain tears 
 As the roar of my laughter redoubles their fears. 
 I am naked. At armor of steel I should joke— 
 True, I'm helmed—a brass pot you could draw with ten yoke. 
 
 I look for no ladder to invade the king's hall— 
 I stride o'er the ramparts, and down the walls fall, 
 Till choked are the ditches with the stones, dead and quick, 
 Whilst the flagstaff I use 'midst my teeth as a pick. 
 
 Oh, when cometh my turn to succumb like my prey, 
 May brave men my body snatch away from th' array 
 Of the crows—may they heap on the rocks till they loom 
 Like a mountain, befitting a colossus' tomb! 
 
 Foreign Quarterly Review (adapted) 


 




Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

Julot The Apache

 You've heard of Julot the apache, and Gigolette, his mome.
.
.
.
Montmartre was their hunting-ground, but Belville was their home.
A little chap just like a boy, with smudgy black mustache, -- Yet there was nothing juvenile in Julot the apache.
From head to heel as tough as steel, as nimble as a cat, With every trick of twist and kick, a master of savate.
And Gigolette was tall and fair, as stupid as a cow, With three combs in the greasy hair she banged upon her brow.
You'd see her on the Place Pigalle on any afternoon, A primitive and strapping wench as brazen as the moon.
And yet there is a tale that's told of Clichy after dark, And two gendarmes who swung their arms with Julot for a mark.
And oh, but they'd have got him too; they banged and blazed away, When like a flash a woman leapt between them and their prey.
She took the medicine meant for him; she came down with a crash .
.
.
"Quick now, and make your get-away, O Julot the apache!" .
.
.
But no! He turned, ran swiftly back, his arms around her met; They nabbed him sobbing like a kid, and kissing Gigolette.
Now I'm a reckless painter chap who loves a jamboree, And one night in Cyrano's bar I got upon a spree; And there were trollops all about, and crooks of every kind, But though the place was reeling round I didn't seem to mind.
Till down I sank, and all was blank when in the bleary dawn I woke up in my studio to find -- my money gone; Three hundred francs I'd scraped and squeezed to pay my quarter's rent.
"Some one has pinched my wad," I wailed; "it never has been spent.
" And as I racked my brains to seek how I could raise some more, Before my cruel landlord kicked me cowering from the door: A knock .
.
.
"Come in," I gruffly groaned; I did not raise my head, Then lo! I heard a husky voice, a swift and silky tread: "You got so blind, last night, mon vieux, I collared all your cash -- Three hundred francs.
.
.
.
There! Nom de Dieu," said Julot the apache.
And that was how I came to know Julot and Gigolette, And we would talk and drink a bock, and smoke a cigarette.
And I would meditate upon the artistry of crime, And he would tell of cracking cribs and cops and doing time; Or else when he was flush of funds he'd carelessly explain He'd biffed some bloated bourgeois on the border of the Seine.
So gentle and polite he was, just like a man of peace, And not a desperado and the terror of the police.
Now one day in a bistro that's behind the Place Vendôme I came on Julot the apache, and Gigolette his mome.
And as they looked so very grave, says I to them, says I, "Come on and have a little glass, it's good to rinse the eye.
You both look mighty serious; you've something on the heart.
" "Ah, yes," said Julot the apache, "we've something to impart.
When such things come to folks like us, it isn't very gay .
.
.
It's Gigolette -- she tells me that a gosse is on the way.
" Then Gigolette, she looked at me with eyes like stones of gall: "If we were honest folks," said she, "I wouldn't mind at all.
But then .
.
.
you know the life we lead; well, anyway I mean (That is, providing it's a girl) to call her Angeline.
" "Cheer up," said I; "it's all in life.
There's gold within the dross.
Come on, we'll drink another verre to Angeline the gosse.
" And so the weary winter passed, and then one April morn The worthy Julot came at last to say the babe was born.
"I'd like to chuck it in the Seine," he sourly snarled, "and yet I guess I'll have to let it live, because of Gigolette.
" I only laughed, for sure I saw his spite was all a bluff, And he was prouder than a prince behind his manner gruff.
Yet every day he'd blast the brat with curses deep and grim, And swear to me that Gigolette no longer thought of him.
And then one night he dropped the mask; his eyes were sick with dread, And when I offered him a smoke he groaned and shook his head: "I'm all upset; it's Angeline .
.
.
she's covered with a rash .
.
.
She'll maybe die, my little gosse," cried Julot the apache.
But Angeline, I joy to say, came through the test all right, Though Julot, so they tell me, watched beside her day and night.
And when I saw him next, says he: "Come up and dine with me.
We'll buy a beefsteak on the way, a bottle and some brie.
" And so I had a merry night within his humble home, And laughed with Angeline the gosse and Gigolette the mome.
And every time that Julot used a word the least obscene, How Gigolette would frown at him and point to Angeline: Oh, such a little innocent, with hair of silken floss, I do not wonder they were proud of Angeline the gosse.
And when her arms were round his neck, then Julot says to me: "I must work harder now, mon vieux, since I've to work for three.
" He worked so very hard indeed, the police dropped in one day, And for a year behind the bars they put him safe away.
So dark and silent now, their home; they'd gone -- I wondered where, Till in a laundry near I saw a child with shining hair; And o'er the tub a strapping wench, her arms in soapy foam; Lo! it was Angeline the gosse, and Gigolette the mome.
And so I kept an eye on them and saw that all went right, Until at last came Julot home, half crazy with delight.
And when he'd kissed them both, says he: "I've had my fill this time.
I'm on the honest now, I am; I'm all fed up with crime.
You mark my words, the page I turn is going to be clean, I swear it on the head of her, my little Angeline.
" And so, to finish up my tale, this morning as I strolled Along the boulevard I heard a voice I knew of old.
I saw a rosy little man with walrus-like mustache .
.
.
I stopped, I stared.
.
.
.
By all the gods! 'twas Julot the apache.
"I'm in the garden way," he said, "and doing mighty well; I've half an acre under glass, and heaps of truck to sell.
Come out and see.
Oh come, my friend, on Sunday, wet or shine .
.
.
Say! -- it's the First Communion of that little girl of mine.
"
Written by Robert Creeley | Create an image from this poem

A Wicker Basket

 Comes the time when it's later
and onto your table the headwaiter
puts the bill, and very soon after
rings out the sound of lively laughter--

Picking up change, hands like a walrus,
and a face like a barndoor's,
and a head without any apparent size,
nothing but two eyes--

So that's you, man,
or me.
I make it as I can, I pick up, I go faster than they know-- Out the door, the street like a night, any night, and no one in sight, but then, well, there she is, old friend Liz-- And she opens the door of her cadillac, I step in back, and we're gone.
She turns me on-- There are very huge stars, man, in the sky, and from somewhere very far off someone hands me a slice of apple pie, with a gob of white, white ice cream on top of it, and I eat it-- Slowly.
And while certainly they are laughing at me, and all around me is racket of these cats not making it, I make it in my wicker basket.