Smokey the Bear heads
into the autumn woods
with a red can of gasoline
and a box of wooden matches.
His ranger's hat is cocked
at a disturbing angle.
His brown fur gleams
under the high sun
as his paws, the size
of catcher's mitts,
crackle into the distance.
He is sick of dispensing
warnings to the careless,
the half-wit camper,
the dumbbell hiker.
He is going to show them
how a professional does it.
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Come not, when I am dead,
To drop thy foolish tears upon my grave,
To trample round my fallen head,
And vex the unhappy dust thou wouldst not save.
There let the wind sweep and the plover cry;
But thou, go by.
Child, if it were thine error or thy crime
I care no longer, being all unblest:
Wed whom thou wilt, but I am sick of Time,
And I desire to rest.
Pass on, weak heart, and leave to where I lie:
Go by, go by.
Cold night: the wild duck,
sick, falls from the sky
and sleeps awhile.
WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
William Carlos (WCW) Williams
They call me and I go.
It is a frozen road
past midnight, a dust
of snow caught
in the rigid wheeltracks.
The door opens.
I smile, enter and
shake off the cold.
Here is a great woman
on her side in the bed.
She is sick,
to give birth to
a tenth child.
Night is a room
darkened for lovers,
through the jalousies the sun
has sent one golden needle!
I pick the hair from her eyes
and watch her misery
O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm.
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Unfathomable Sea! whose waves are years,
Ocean of Time, whose waters of deep woe
Are brackish with the salt of human tears!
Thou shoreless flood, which in thy ebb and flow
Claspest the limits of mortality,
And sick of prey, yet howling on for more,
Vomitest thy wrecks on its inhospitable shore;
Treacherous in calm, and terrible in storm,
Who shall put forth on thee,
They say one king is mad.
They say one king is doddering and grey.
They say one king is slack and sick of mind,
A puppet for hid strings that twitch and play.
Is Europe then to be their sprawling-place?
Their mad-house, till it turns the wide world's bane?
Their place of maudlin, slavering conference
Till every far-off farmstead goes insane?
I should have been a plumber fixing drains.
And mending pure white bathtubs for the great Diogenes
(who scorned all lies, all liars, and all tyrannies),
And then, perhaps, he would bestow on me -- majesty!
(O modesty aside, forgive my fallen pride, O hidden
The lamp, the lantern, the lucid light he sought for
All too often -- sick humanity!)
Alone in the woods I felt
The bitter hostility of the sky and the trees
Nature has taught her creatures to hate
Man that fusses and fumes
As the sap rises in the trees
As the sap paints the trees a violent green
So rises the wrath of Nature's creatures
So paints the face of Nature a violent green.
Nature is sick at man
Sick at his fuss and fume
Sick at his agonies
Sick at his gaudy mind
That drives his body
Ever more quickly
More and more
In the wrong direction.
Why is it, when I am in Rome,
I'd give an eye to be at home,
But when on native earth I be,
My soul is sick for Italy?
And why with you, my love, my lord,
Am I spectacularly bored,
Yet do you up and leave me- then
I scream to have you back again?
No, no; for my virginity,
When I lose that, says Rose, I'll die:
Behind the elms last night, cried Dick,
Rose, were you not extremely sick?
Along the sprawled body of the derailed Great Northern freight car,
I strike a match slowly and lift it slowly.
Beyond town, three heavy white horses
Wade all the way to their shoulders
In a silo shadow.
Suddenly the freight car lurches.
The door slams back, a man with a flashlight
Calls me good evening.
I nod as I write good evening, lonely
And sick for home.
Oh, I am very weary,
Though tears no longer flow;
My eyes are tires of weeping,
My heart is sick of woe;
My life is very lonely,
My days pass heavily,
I'm wearing of repining,
Wilt thou not come to me?
Oh, didst thou know my longings
For thee, from day to day,
My hopes, so often blighted,
Thou wouldst not thus delay!
To be an ape in little of the mountain-making mother
Like swarthy Cheops, but my own hands
For only slaves, is a far sweeter toil than to cut
Passions in verse for a sick people.
I'd liefer bed one boulder in the house-wall than be the time's
Archilochus: we name not Homer: who now
Can even imagine the fabulous dawn when bay-leaves (to a blind
Beggar) were not bitter in the teeth?
Behold, from the land of the farther suns
And I was in a reptile-swarming place,
Peopled, otherwise, with grimaces,
Shrouded above in black impenetrableness.
I shrank, loathing,
Sick with it.
And I said to him,
"What is this?"
He made answer slowly,
"Spirit, this is a world;
This was your home.
Poem by Anne-Marie Derése, translated by Judith Skillman.
The waiting volcano inside us
gnaws, digs, trembles,
weighs its chances.
Distress coils up,
shrinks silent like a sick beast.
We are unrecognizable,
in the certainty of our ferocity.
They hail you as their morning star
Because you are the way you are.
If you return the sentiment,
They'll try to make you different;
And once they have you, safe and sound,
They want to change you all around.
Your moods and ways they put a curse on;
They'd make of you another person.
They cannot let you go your gait;
They influence and educate.
They'd alter all that they admired.
They make me sick, they make me tired.
BILBEA, I was in Babylon on Saturday night.
I saw nothing of you anywhere.
I was at the old place and the other girls were there, but no Bilbea.
Have you gone to another house? or city?
Why don’t you write?
I was sorry.
I walked home half-sick.
Tell me how it goes.
Send me some kind of a letter.
And take care of yourself.
David Herbert Lawrence
A yellow leaf from the darkness
Hops like a frog before me.
Why should I start and stand still?
I was watching the woman that bore me
Stretched in the brindled darkness
Of the sick-room, rigid with will
To die: and the quick leaf tore me
Back to this rainy swill
Of leaves and lamps and traffic mingled before me.
Charms, that call down the moon from out her sphere,
On this sick youth work your enchantments here!
Bind up his senses with your numbers, so
As to entrance his pain, or cure his woe.
Fall gently, gently, and a-while him keep
Lost in the civil wilderness of sleep:
That done, then let him, dispossess'd of pain,
Like to a slumbering bride, awake again.
These fresh beauties, we can prove,
Once were virgins, sick of love,
Turn'd to flowers: still in some,
Colours go and colours come.
Why make it doubt -- it hurts it so --
So sick -- to guess --
So strong -- to know --
So brave -- upon its little Bed
To tell the very last They said
Unto Itself -- and smile -- And shake --
For that dear -- distant -- dangerous -- Sake --
But -- the Instead -- the Pinching fear
That Something -- it did do -- or dare --
Offend the Vision -- and it flee --
And They no more remember me --
Nor ever turn to tell me why --
Oh, Master, This is Misery --
So late, and yet a nightingale?
Long since have dropp'd the blossoms pale,
The summer fields are ripening,
And yet a sound of spring?
O tell me, didst thou come to hear,
Sweet Spring, that I should die this year;
And call'st across from the far shore
To me one greeting more?
A S J Tessimond
The birds' shrill fluting
Beats on the pink blind,
Pierces the pink blind
At whose edge fumble the sun's
Fingers till one obtrudes
And stirs the thick motes.
The room is a close box of pink warmth.
The minutes click.
A man picks across the street
With a metal-pointed stick.
Three clocks drop each twelve pennies
On the drom of noon.
The birds end.
A child's cry pricks the hush.
The wind plucks at a leaf.
The birds rebegin.