Young Henry

Air -- "Drummer Boy of Waterloo"

I
Young Henry was as faithful boy
As ever stood on the American soil,
And he did enlist, without a doubt,
When the rebellion was broke out.
II
He was his parents' only son,
And only child he was but one,
That was a girl aged seventeen,
Henry called her his May Queen.
III
Young Henry said, "Dear sister May,
What do you think my friends will say?
For now my name is on the roll,
And I down south will have to go."
IV


Yesterday

My friend says I was not a good son
you understand
I say yes I understand

he says I did not go
to see my parents very often you know
and I say yes I know

even when I was living in the same city he says
maybe I would go there once
a month or maybe even less
I say oh yes

he says the last time I went to see my father
I say the last time I saw my father

he says the last time I saw my father
he was asking me about my life
how I was making out and he
went into the next room


Working Late

A light is on in my father's study.
"Still up?" he says, and we are silent,
looking at the harbor lights,
listening to the surf
and the creak of coconut boughs.

He is working late on cases.
No impassioned speech! He argues from evidence,
actually pacing out and measuring,
while the fans revolving on the ceiling
winnow the true from the false.

Once he passed a brass curtain rod
through a head made out of plaster
and showed the jury the angle of fire--
where the murderer must have stood.


Willie Metcalf

I was Willie Metcalf.
They used to call me "Doctor Meyers"
Because, they said, I looked like him.
And he was my father, according to Jack McGuire.
I lived in the livery stable,
Sleeping on the floor
Side by side with Roger Baughman's bulldog,
Or sometimes in a stall.
I could crawl between the legs of the wildest horses
Without getting kicked -- we knew each other.
On spring days I tramped through the country
To get the feeling, which I sometimes lost,
That I was not a separate thing from the earth.


Women's song of the corn

How beautiful are the corn rows,
Stretching to the morning sun,
Stretching to the evening sun.
Very beautiful, the long rows of corn.

How beautiful is the white corn,
I husk it,
I grind it.
Very beautiful, my white corn.

How beautiful is the red corn,
I gather it and make fine meal,
I am glad doing this.
Very beautiful, my red corn.

How beautiful is the black corn,
I give it to my father,
To my mother,
I give it to my child.
Very beautiful, the black corn.


Wisdom

(Proverbs, viii. 22-31)

"Ere God had built the mountains,
Or raised the fruitful hills;
Before he fill'd the fountains
That feed the running rills;
In me from everlasting,
The wonderful I am,
Found pleasures never wasting,
And Wisdom is my name.

"When, like a tent to dwell in,
He spread the skies abroad,
And swathed about the swelling
Of Ocean's mighty flood;
He wrought by weight and measure,
And I was with Him then:
Myself the Father's pleasure,


Woman's Trifling Needs

AN inventory clear of all she needs Lamira offers here; Nor does she fear a rigid Cato's frown When she lays by the rich embroidered gown, And modestly compounds for just enough- Perhaps, some dozens of more flighty stuff; With lawns and lustrings, blond, and Mechlin laces, Fringes and jewels, fans and tweezer-cases; memory Gay cloaks, and hats of every shape and size, Scarfs, cardinals, and ribbons of all dyes; With ruffles stamped, and aprons of tambour, Tippets and handkerchiefs, at least three score; With finest muslins that fair India boasts, And the choice herbage from Chinesan coasts


Wittgenstein's Ladder

"My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way:
anyone who understands them eventually recognizes them as
nonsensical, when he has used them -- as steps -- to climb
up beyond them. (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder
after he has climbed up it.)" -- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus

1.

The first time I met Wittgenstein, I was
late. "The traffic was murder," I explained.
He spent the next forty-five minutes
analyzing this sentence. Then he was silent.


With brutus in st. jo

Of all the opry-houses then obtaining in the West
The one which Milton Tootle owned was, by all odds, the best;
Milt, being rich, was much too proud to run the thing alone,
So he hired an "acting manager," a gruff old man named Krone--
A stern, commanding man with piercing eyes and flowing beard,
And his voice assumed a thunderous tone when Jack and I appeared;
He said that Julius Caesar had been billed a week or so,
And would have to have some armies by the time he reached St. Jo!


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