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37.The Lover in Hell
Eternally the choking steam goes up
From the black pools of seething oil. . . .
Those little devils are! They've stolen the pitchfork
From Bel, there, as he slept . . . Look! -- oh look, look!
They've got at Nero! Oh it isn't fair!
Lord, how he squeals! Stop it . . . it's, well -- indecent!
But funny! . . . See, Bel's waked. They'll catch it now!
. . . Eternally that stifling reek arises,
Blotting the dome with smoky, terrible towers,
Black, strangling trees, whispering obscene things
Amongst their branches, clutching with maimed hands,
Or oozing slowly, like blind tentacles
Up to the gates; higher than that heaped brick
Man piled to smite the sun. And all around
Are devils. One can laugh . . . but that hunched shape
The face one stone, like those Assyrian kings!
One sees in carvings, watching men flayed red
Horribly laughable in leaps and writhes;
That face -- utterly evil, clouded round
With evil like a smoke -- it turns smiles sour!
. . . And Nero there, the flabby cheeks astrain
And sweating agony . . . long agony . . .
For ever . . . well . . . it droops the mouth. Till I
There's one blue patch no smoke dares touch.
Sky, clear, ineffable, alive with light,
Always the same . . .
Before, I never knew
Rest and green peace.
She stands there in the sun.
. . . It seems so quaint she should have long gold wings.
I never have got used -- folded across
Her breast, or fluttering with fierce, pure light,
Like shaken steel. Her crown too. Well, it's queer!
And then she never cared much for the harp
On earth. Here, though . . .
She is all peace, all quiet,
All passionate desires, the eloquent thunder
Of new, glad suns, shouting aloud for joy,
Over fresh worlds and clean, trampling the air
Like stooping hawks, to the long wind of horns,
Flung from the bastions of Eternity . . .
And she is the low lake, drowsy and gentle,
And good words spoken from the tongues of friends,
And calmness in the evening, and deep thoughts,
Falling like dreams from the stars' solemn mouths.
They said she was unfaithful once.
Or I remembered it -- and so, for that,
I lie here, I suppose. Yes, so they said.
You see she is so troubled, looking down,
Sorrowing deeply for my torments. I
Of course, feel nothing while I see her -- save
That sometimes when I think the matter out,
And what earth-people said of us, of her,
It seems as if I must be, here, in heaven,
And she --
. . . Then I grow proud; and suddenly
There comes a splatter of oil against my skin,
Hurting this time. And I forget my pride:
And my face writhes.
Some day the little ladder
Of white words that I build up, up, to her
May fetch me out. Meanwhile it isn't bad. . . .
But what a sense of humor God must have! read more »
38.To A Mouse
Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle! read more »
39.To A Louse
On Seeing One on a Lady's Bonnet at Church
Ha! whare ye gaun' ye crowlin ferlie?
Your impudence protects you sairly; read more »
In England once there lived a big
And wonderfully clever pig.
To everybody it was plain
That Piggy had a massive brain. read more »
The great Overdog
That heavenly beast
With a star in one eye
Gives a leap in the east. read more »
42.Hot and Cold
A woman who my mother knows
Came in and took off all her clothes.
Said I, not being very old, read more »
43.Child of Europe
We, whose lungs fill with the sweetness of day.
Who in May admire trees flowering
Are better than those who perished. read more »
44.For The Foxes
Don't feel sorry for me.
I am a competent,
satisfied human being. read more »
45.Limerick: There Was an Old Man with a Beard
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren, read more »
46.Goodwill To Men - Give Us Your Money
It was Christmas Eve on a Friday
The shops was full of cheer,
With tinsel in the windows, read more »
Light rain is falling in Central Park
but not on Upper Fifth Avenue or Central Park West
where sun and sky are yellow and blue
Winds are gusting on Washington Square read more »
48.Please Mrs Butler
Please Mrs Butler
This boy Derek Drew
Keeps copying my work, Miss.
What shall I do? read more »
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