WH Auden


Cocaine Lil and Morphine Sue


Did you ever hear about Cocaine Lil?
She lived in Cocaine town on Cocaine hill,
She had a cocaine dog and a cocaine cat,
They fought all night with a cocaine rat.

She had cocaine hair on her cocaine head.
She had a cocaine dress that was poppy red:
She wore a snowbird hat and sleigh-riding clothes,
On her coat she wore a crimson, cocaine rose.

Big gold chariots on the Milky Way,
Snakes and elephants silver and gray.
Oh the cocaine blues they make me sad,
Oh the cocaine blues make me feel bad.

Lil went to a snow party one cold night,
And the way she sniffed was sure a fright.
There was Hophead Mag with Dopey Slim,
Kankakee Liz and Yen Shee Jim.

There was Morphine Sue and the Poppy Face Kid,
Climbed up snow ladders and down they skid;
There was the Stepladder Kit, a good six feet,
And the Sleigh-riding Sister who were hard to beat.

Along in the morning about half past three
They were all lit up like a Christmas tree;
Lil got home and started for bed,
Took another sniff and it knocked her dead.

They laid her out in her cocaine clothes:
She wore a snowbird hat with a crimson rose;
On her headstone you’ll find this refrain:
She died as she lived, sniffing cocaine

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Read poems about / on: christmas, snow, cat, rose, sister, dog, silver, sad, tree, hair, red, home, night, snake

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  • David Jones (5/13/2012 6:05:00 AM)

    This work is listed in my book '100 American Poems' as originating in Chicago/Detroit late 19th century-so surely not by Auden? (Report) Reply

  • Lisa Francis (2/27/2010 5:57:00 PM)

    Has anyone heard the John Martyn song 'Cocaine' inspired by this Auden poem. It's worth a listen. It's really very amusing. (Report) Reply

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