The tall man stood on the island
Blunt-faced, facing the wind
With his eyes as wide as a child’s eyes
And his clothes flapping about him
And the seabirds cried like ever
Just as if he were nought but a stone
And the wind rushed heedlessly by him
Till the sea rose and mothered him home
His blunt face is long since forgotten
By his people long scattered and dead
But all the same he stood there once
No matter what nobody says
(after Li Bai)
It’s spring, you say – Why are you still here?
The lichens are slowly turning
The mountain rock to new dirt,
The snowmelt is carrying the old dirt away;
Why are you still here?
I smile; my heart
Beats as slowly as the mountain’s heart.
A peach blossom, ripped from the twig
By the pummeling spring rain,
May be carried by freshet, by gully,
By stream, by river – clear to the sea, maybe;
So too me:
ripped from heaven,
Halfway to somewhere else by now.
Which is why I have no answer.
How to use an otter to negotiate
Is to turn it loose in the room
Among the lawyers and business types
Trusting its liquid eyes and old-woman whiskers
To get us to a place where everyone is happy
While knowing they all know you know
Otters live by their wits
And teeth and claws
Are fiercely territorial
Defend their young to the death
Only sometimes mate for life
But prefer loafing in the waves
If only everyone could get along
As a poet was brash
His lines rushed out in a lengthy and seemingly unstoppable torrent
And his rhymes were abhorrent.
Wrote verse difficult and profound
The fact that even he couldn’t figure it out
Should suffice to remove any doubt.
Was rather queer.
But of course, the word had a different meaning back then
So instead, one should simply say that he preferred men.
Edmund Clerihew Bentley
Aware that decent rhymes for Clerihew
Are, alas, very few.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Was heard on occasion to say
That only the author of Euclid’s Elements
Had ever seen Beauty without habiliments.
Posted in biography, character, doggerel, epigram, Lives of the Poets, poem |
Tagged clerihew, Edmund Clerihew Bentley, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edward Lear, Ezra Pound, Lives of the Poets, Odgen Nash, poetry |
Zeus had quite a head on him
after last night’s binge
too much nectar and ambrosia
hoo boy! So this morning
when Athena in bright armor sprang
full blown, well sure
he was proud of himself
(who else could have after all?)
but honestly he could have done
without the clanking and
(Ye gods!) the glare!