A Smile To Remember
we had goldfish and they circled around and around
in the bowl on the table near the heavy drapes
covering the picture window and
my mother, always smiling, wanting us all
to be happy, told me, 'be happy Henry! '
and she was right: it's better to be happy if you
but my father continued to beat her and me several times a week while
raging inside his 6-foot-two frame because he couldn't
understand what was attacking him from within.
How neatly a cat sleeps,
sleeps with its paws and its posture,
sleeps with its wicked claws,
and with its unfeeling blood,
sleeps with all the rings-
a series of burnt circles-
which have formed the odd geology
of its sand-colored tail.
I should like to sleep like a cat,
A Child's Christmas In Wales
One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.
All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.
it came today to visit
and moved into the house
it was smaller than an elephant
but larger than a mouse
first it slapped my sister
then it kicked my dad
then it pushed my mother
oh! that really made me mad
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
waiting for death
like a cat
that will jump on the
I am so very sorry for
she will see this
'Twas midnight in the schoolroom
And every desk was shut
When suddenly from the alphabet
Was heard a loud "Tut-Tut!"
Said A to B, "I don't like C;
His manners are a lack.
For all I ever see of C
Is a semi-circular back!"
How Pleasant To Know Mr. Lear
How pleasant to know Mr. Lear,
Who has written such volumes of stuff.
Some think him ill-tempered and queer,
But a few find him pleasant enough.
His mind is concrete and fastidious,
His nose is remarkably big;
His visage is more or less hideous,
His beard it resembles a wig.
A Case Of Murder
They should not have left him there alone,
Alone that is except for the cat.
He was only nine, not old enough
To be left alone in a basement flat,
Alone, that is, except for the cat.
A dog would have been a different thing,
A big gruff dog with slashing jaws,
But a cat with round eyes mad as gold,
Plump as a cushion with tucked-in paws---
Better have left him with a fair-sized rat!
To My Valentine
More than a catbird hates a cat,
Or a criminal hates a clue,
Or the Axis hates the United States,
That's how much I love you.
I love you more than a duck can swim,
And more than a grapefruit squirts,
I love you more than a gin rummy is a bore,
And more than a toothache hurts.
The Owl And The Pussy-Cat
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
Catch A Little Rhyme
Once upon a time
I caught a little rhyme
I set it on the floor
but it ran right out the door
I chased it on my bicycle
but it melted to an icicle
I scooped it up in my hat
It was an icy day.
We buried the cat,
then took her box
and set fire to it
in the back yard.
Those fleas that escaped
earth and fire
died by the cold.
An Old Life
Snow fell in the night.
At five-fifteen I woke to a bluish
mounded softness where
the Honda was. Cat fed and coffee made,
I broomed snow off the car
and drove to the Kearsarge Mini-Mart
before Amy opened
to yank my Globe out of the bundle.
Back, I set my cup of coffee
beside Jane, still half-asleep,
Pull A String, A Puppet Moves
each man must realize
that it can all disappear very
the cat, the woman, the job,
the front tire,
the bed, the walls, the
room; all our necessities
rest on foundations of sand -
and any given cause,
Sometime During Eternity
Sometime during eternity
some guys show up
and one of them
who shows up real late
is a kind of carpenter
from some square-type place
and he starts wailing
and claiming he is hep
to who made heaven
I Taught Myself To Live Simply
I taught myself to live simply and wisely,
to look at the sky and pray to God,
and to wander long before evening
to tire my superfluous worries.
When the burdocks rustle in the ravine
and the yellow-red rowanberry cluster droops
I compose happy verses
about life's decay, decay and beauty.
I come back. The fluffy cat
licks my palm, purrs so sweetly
Colors Passing Through Us
Purple as tulips in May, mauve
into lush velvet, purple
as the stain blackberries leave
on the lips, on the hands,
the purple of ripe grapes
sunlit and warm as flesh.
Every day I will give you a color,
like a new flower in a bud vase
on your desk. Every day
I will paint you, as women
A Curse Against Elegies
Oh, love, why do we argue like this?
I am tired of all your pious talk.
Also, I am tired of all the dead.
They refuse to listen,
so leave them alone.
Take your foot out of the graveyard,
they are busy being dead.
Everyone was always to blame:
the last empty fifth of booze,
God Knows.... A Simple Prayer
God knew that I need someone
To keep as a treasure in my heart.
Someone who is so true
Fine and caring.
God knew that I need smiles
To go on my hard way
And dress my wounds