Thursday, March 31, 2016

Clerihew of a Slaughtered Fawn


Rupert Brooke
Has a look
More teacher's pet
Than hardened vet.

Daily Dose

From The Woman in the Dune, by Kobo Abe


"No matter how sand flowed, it was still different from water.  One could swim in water, but sand would enfold a man and crush him to death.

It looked as though he had misjudged the situation."

From Chapter 13

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Clerihew of the First


Paul Laurence Dunbar
Was once the one star
In all the Black firmament,
Or, the one "discovered", in any event.

Daily Dose

From My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South, by Rick Bragg


"It has always reminded me of struggle, somehow, and I will sleep in it, with the rest of my kin.  But between now and then, I would like to walk in some sand."

From My Kind of Town

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Clerihew of Renewed Protest


"Oh, from whence comes this rage
In our 'post-racial' age?!"
The answers are all in
The essays of Baldwin.

Daily Dose

From The Epic of Gilgamesh, translated by Benjamin R. Foster


"My friend whom I loved so, who went with me through every hardship,
Enkidu, whom I so loved, who went with me through every hardship,
The fate of mankind has overtaken him."

From Tablet X

Monday, March 28, 2016

Clerihew of a Gentle Critic


The true Gentleman of Letters
Comments on his betters.
Who is left then to say he
Wasn't Hamilton Wright Mabie?

Daily Dose

From Essays on Nature and Culture, by Hamilton Wright Mabie


"Genius involves not less, but more humanity in its possessor; it implies not separation from, but identification with, humanity."

From Distinctness of Individuality

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Clerihew of Poetic Futility


Wilfred Owen
Struck a blow in
The struggle to end the First World War,
But died before he reached the shore.

Daily Dose

From The Selected poems of Yone Noguchi


At night the Universe grows lean, sober-
faced, of intoxication,
The shadow of the half-sphere curtains
down closely against my world, like a
doorless cage, and the stillness chained by
wrinkled darkness strains throughout the Uni-
verse to be free.
Listen, frogs in the pond, (the world is a pond itself)
cry out for the light, for the truth!
The curtains rattle ghostlily along, bloodily biting
my soul, the winds knocking on my cabin door
with their shadowy hands.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Clerihew of a Very English Affair


Bertrand Russell
Tried to hustle
Ottoline Morrell
Straight to Hell.

Daily Dose

From Chrome Yellow, by Aldous Huxley


"It was two hours cut clean out of his life; two hours in which he might have done so much, so much -- written the perfect poem, for example, or read the one illuminating book."

From Chapter 1

Friday, March 25, 2016

Clerihew of Cambridge Capers


Srinivasa Ramanujan
Went to bed with his pajamas on,
Woke up - naked - with G. H. Hardy,
Who smiled and said, "That was quite the party!"

Daily Dose

From Sylvia's Lovers, by Elizabeth Gaskell


"The next morning shone bright and clear, if ever a March morning did."

From Chapter XVIII, Eddy in Love's Current

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #70

Daily Dose

From A Legacy, by Sybille Bedford


"Late love has this in common with first love, it is again involuntary."

From Part Three, The Captive, Chapter 6

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Clerihew of a Busy Brush


Augustus John
Could not keep his trousers on,
Or sleep alone for so much as one night,
And so fathered bastards left and right.

Daily Dose

From A Buyer's Market, by Anthony Powell


"Now a change of relationship seemed to have taken place, or it would perhaps  be more exact to say, appeared desired by each of them; for there was no doubt that they were prepared, at least momentarily, to be on the best of terms."

From Chapter 4

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Clerihew for the Discriminating Viewer


Randall Jarrell
Found his mental health in peril
When he watched the news on TV.
(With the poet I must agree.)

Daily Dose

From Randall Jarrell: Selected Poems, edited by William H. Pritchard


There set out, slowly, for a Different World,
At four, on winter mornings, different legs ...
You can't break eggs without making an omlette
-- That's what they tell the eggs.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, by Joy Harjo


The sky aches with primordial dark
As it prepares to give birth to light —

— A chuk chuk of gecko song —

And a young trade wind follows another
Through the screened house over
The green mountain ridge that wears a cape of clouds.

Down the hill in Chinatown
A sailor sodden with drink and fight
Zips up from a piss.
He curses everything he stumbles against
In the flower ruins.

One god breaks against another.
And so it is.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Clerihew of a Joyous Noise


You might know
Joy Harjo
Less for her verse and her rhyme, perhaps,
Than for her licks on the alto sax.

Daily Dose

From Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, by Joy Harjo

And whom do I call my enemy?
An enemy must be worthy of engagement.
I turn in the direction of the sun and keep walking.
It’s the heart that asks the question, not my furious mind.
The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun.
It sees and knows everything.
It hears the gnashing even as it hears the blessing.
The door to the mind should only open from the heart.
An enemy who gets in, risks the danger of becoming a friend.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Miscellaneous Works of Tobias Smollett, MD, with Memoirs of His Life and Writings, edited by Robert Anderson


"Those sculptur'd halls my feet shall never tread,
Where varnish'd vice and vanity combin'd,
To dazzle and seduce, their banners spread,
And forge vile shackles for the free-born mind."

From Ode to Independence, strophe 1

Friday, March 18, 2016

Clerihew of Suburban Boredom


Much of the text in
Anne Sexton
Was meant to buoy
Her feminine -- not quite "-ist" -- ennui.

Daily Dose

From The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton


Everything here is yellow and green.
Listen to its throat, its earthskin,
the bone dry voices of the peepers
as they throb like advertisements.
The small animals of the woods
are carrying their deathmasks
into a narrow winter cave.
The scarecrow has plucked out
his two eyes like diamonds
and walked into the village.
The general and the postman
have taken off their packs.
This has all happened before
but nothing here is obsolete.
Everything here is possible.

Because of this
perhaps a young girl has laid down
her winter clothes and has casually
placed herself upon a tree limb
that hangs over a pool in the river.
She has been poured out onto the limb,
low above the houses of the fishes
as they swim in and out of her reflection
and up and down the stairs of her legs.
Her body carries clouds all the way home.
She is overlooking her watery face
in the river where blind men
come to bathe at midday.

Because of this
the ground, that winter nightmare,
has cured its sores and burst
with green birds and vitamins.
Because of this
the trees turn in their trenches
and hold up little rain cups
by their slender fingers.
Because of this
a woman stands by her stove
singing and cooking flowers.
Everything here is yellow and green.

Surely spring will allow
a girl without a stitch on
to turn softly in her sunlight
and not be afraid of her bed.
She has already counted seven
blossoms in her green green mirror.
Two rivers combine beneath her.
The face of the child wrinkles.
in the water and is gone forever.
The woman is all that can be seen
in her animal loveliness.
Her cherished and obstinate skin
lies deeply under the watery tree.
Everything is altogether possible
and the blind men can also see.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #69

Daily Dose

From The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton


Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be as good as fingers.
They can be as trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.
Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.
Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren't good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.
But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Clerihew of the Anti-Colonial Convert


Arthur Joyce Lunel Cary,
(not suffering from dysentery,)
Retired from colonial service.
"Such noble places don't deserve us."

Daily Dose

From The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot


"It is a wonderful subduer, this need of love, -- this hunger of the heart, -- as peremptory as that other hunger by which Nature forces us to submit to the yoke, and change the face of the world."

From Book One, Boy and Girl, Chapter V, Tom Comes Home

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Clerihew of a Nobel Dandy.


Rabindranath Tagore,
When setting out on tour,
In addition to poems and "rabindrasangeet",
Would pack fashionable shoes for his delicate feet.

Daily Dose

From The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot


"These bitter sorrows of childhood! when sorrow is all new and strange, when hope has not yet got wings to fly beyond the days and weeks, and the space from Summer to Summer seems measureless."

From Book One, Boy and Girl, Chapter V, Tom Comes Home

Monday, March 14, 2016

Cheesy Clerihew


John Milton
Refused the Stilton,
But took the chedder
as he liked that better.

Daily Dose

From Obiter Dicta: Second Series, by Augustine Birrell


"Boswell's book is an arch of triumph, through which, as we read, we see his hero passing into eternal fame, to take up his place with those --

'Dead but sceptered sovereigns who still rule
Our spirits from their urns.'"

From Dr. Johnson

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Arborial Clerihew


On his kness
He praised the "Trees",
So, do you suppose the Scotch Fir
Sometimes thinks of Kilmer?

Daily Dose

From The Complete Poetry of William Blake


Sound the flute!
Now it's mute!
Bird's delight,
Day and night,
In the dale,
Lark in sky,--
Merrily merrily, to welcome in the year.

Little boy,
Full of joy;
Little girl,
Sweet and small;
Cock does crow,
So do you;
Merry voice,
Infant noise;
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.

Little lamb,
Here I am;
Come and lick
My white neck;
Let me pull
Your soft wool;
Let me kiss
Your soft face;
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Clerihew of Republican Immortality


Julia Ward Howe,
Although she's little read now,
Remains forever young,
To the extent that she's sung.

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From New and Collected Poems: 1975 - 2015, by Jay Parini

The thoughts that come on little cat feet
aren't mine, of course.
I'm prey to everything they've said,
and half believe in heaven and its hymns.
I've made my way through Chapman's Homer
and was so impressed.
I've watched my hands, like ragged claws,
crawl over you at night.
You didn't seem to mind.
You've read a lot and heard a lot.
We all have, dear.
We don't know who said what to whom
or why or when. The faces in the metro
look the same, each having been
through birth and copulation, even death itself.
I had not thought death had undone so many.
In country churchyards on the mossy stones,
their epitaphs may not impress the judges,
but they won't much care.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Clerihew for a Twickenham Folly


Abandoning all hope,
Alexander Pope
Withdrew into his grotto
As he'd not been treated as he oughto.

Daily Dose

From The Collected Poetical Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne


BEYOND the north wind lay the land of old
Where men dwelt blithe and blameless, clothed and fed
With joy’s bright raiment and with love’s sweet bread,
The whitest flock of earth’s maternal fold.
None there might wear about his brows enrolled
A light of lovelier fame than rings your head,
Whose lovesome love of children and the dead
All men give thanks for: I far off behold
A dear dead hand that links us, and a light
The blithest and benignest of the night,
The night of death’s sweet sleep, wherein may be
A star to show your spirit in present sight
Some happier island in the Elysian sea
Where Rab may lick the hand of Marjorie.

From Sonnets

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Breakfast at the Bookstore with Brad and Nick #68

Daily Dose

from The Collected Poetical Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne


BROAD-BASED, broad-fronted, bounteous, multiform,
With many a valley impleached with ivy and vine,
Wherein the springs of all the streams run wine,
And many a crag full-faced against the storm,
The mountain where thy Muse’s feet made warm
Those lawns that revelled with her dance divine
Shines yet with fire as it was wont to shine
From tossing torches round the dance aswarm.

Nor less, high-stationed on the grey grave heights,
High-thoughted seers with heaven’s heart-kindling lights
Hold converse: and the herd of meaner things
Knows or by fiery scourge or fiery shaft
When wrath on thy broad brows has risen, and laughed,
Darkening thy soul with shadow of thunderous wings.

From Sonnets

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From The Collected Poetical Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne



IF ALL the flowers of all the fields on earth
By wonder-working summer were made one,
Its fragrance were not sweeter in the sun,
Its treasure-house of leaves were not more worth
Than those wherefrom thy light of musing mirth
Shone, till each leaf whereon thy pen would run
Breathed life, and all its breath was benison.
Beloved beyond all names of English birth,
More dear than mightier memories; gentlest name
That ever clothed itself with flower-sweet fame,
Or linked itself with loftiest names of old
By right and might of loving; I, that am
Less than the least of those within thy fold,
Give only thanks for them to thee, Charles Lamb.


So many a year had borne its own bright bees
And slain them since thy honey-bees were hived,
John Day, in cells of flower-sweet verse contrived
So well with craft of moulding melodies,
Thy soul perchance in amaranth fields at ease
Thought not to hear the sound on earth revived
Of summer music from the spring derived
When thy song sucked the flower of flowering trees
But thine was not the chance of every day:
Time, after many a darkling hour, grew sunny,
And light between the clouds ere sunset swam,
Laughing, and kissed their darkness all away,
When, touched and tasted and approved, thy honey
Took subtler sweetness from the lips of Lamb.

From Sonnets

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From New and Collected Poems: 1931 - 2001, by Czeslaw Milosz


I sleep a lot and read St. Thomas Aquinas
Or The Death of God (that's a Protestant book).
To the right the bay as if molten tin,
Beyond the bay, city, beyond the city, ocean,
Beyond the ocean, ocean, till Japan.
To the left dry hills with white grass,
Beyond the hills an irrigated valley where rice is grown,
Beyond the valley, mountains and Ponderosa pines,
Beyond the mountains, desert and sheep.

When I couldn't do without alcohol, I drove myself on alcohol,
When I couldn't do without cigarettes and coffee, I drove myself
On cigarettes and coffee.
I was courageous. Industrious. Nearly a model of virtue.
But that is good for nothing.

I feel a pain.
not here. Even I don't know.
many islands and continents,
words, bazaars, wooden flutes,
Or too much drinking to the mirror, without beauty,
Though one was to be a kind of archangel
Or a Saint George, over there, on St. George Street.
Please, Doctor,
Not here. No,
Maybe it's too

Please, Medicine Man, I feel a pain.
I always believed in spells and incantations.
Sure, women have only one, Catholic, soul,
But we have two. When you start to dance
You visit remote pueblos in your sleep
And even lands you have never seen.
Put on, I beg you, charms made of feathers,
Now it's time to help one of your own.
I have read many books but I don't believe them.
When it hurts we return to the banks of certain rivers.

I remember those crosses with chiseled suns and moons
And wizards, how they worked during an outbreak of typhus.
Send your second soul beyond the mountains, beyond time.
Tell me what you saw, I will wait.

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Selected Poems: 1931 - 2004, by Czeslaw Milosz


My valiant helper, a small-sized tiger
Sleeps sweetly on my desk, by the computer,
Unaware that you insult his tribe.

Cats play with a mouse or with a half-dead mole.
You are wrong, though: it's not out of cruelty.
They simply like a thing that moves.

For, after all, we know that only consciousness
Can for a moment move into the Other,
Empathize with the pain and panic of a mouse.

And such as cats are, all of Nature is.
Indifferent, alas, to the good and the evil.
Quite a problem for us, I am afraid.

Natural history has its museums,
But why should our children learn about monsters,
An earth of snakes and reptiles for millions of years?

Nature devouring, nature devoured,
Butchery day and night smoking with blood.
and who created it? Was it the good Lord?

Yes, undoubtedly, they are innocent,
Spiders, mantises, sharks, pythons.
We are the only ones who say: cruelty.

Our consciousness and our conscience
Alone in the pale anthill of galaxies
Put their hope in a humane God.

Who cannot but feel and think,
Who is kindred to us by his warmth and movement,
For we are, as he told us, similar to Him.

Yet if it is so, the He takes pity
On every mauled mouse, every wounded bird.
Then the universe ofr him is like a Crucifixion.

Such is the outcome of your attack on the cat:
A theological, Augustinian grimace,
Which makes difficult our walking on this earth.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From New and Collected Poems: 1931 - 2001, by Czeslaw Milosz


We wanted to confess our sins but there were no takers.
White clouds refused to accept them, and the wind
Was too busy visiting sea after sea.
We did not succeed in interesting the animals.
Dogs, disappointed, expected an order,
A cat, as always immoral, was falling asleep.
A person seemingly very close
Did not care to hear of things long past.
Conversations with friends over vodka or coffee
Ought not be prolonged beyond the first sign of boredom.
It would be humiliating to pay by the hour
A man with a diploma, just for listening.
Churches. Perhaps churches. But to confess there what?
That we used to see ourselves as handsome and noble
Yet later in our place an ugly toad
Half-opens its thick eyelid
And one sees clearly: "That's me."