The Great Australian Adjective

The sunburnt ---- stockman stood
And, in a dismal ---- mood,
Apostrophized his ---- cuddy;
"The ---- nag's no ---- good,
He couldn't earn his ---- food -
A regular ---- brumby,
----!"

He jumped across the ---- horse
And cantered off, of ---- course!
The roads were bad and ---- muddy;
Said he, "Well, spare me ---- days
The ---- Government's ---- ways
Are screamin' ---- funny,
----!"

He rode up hill, down ---- dale,


The Grammarians Funeral

Eight Parts of Speech this Day wear Mourning Gowns
Declin'd Verbs, Pronouns, Participles, Nouns.
And not declined, Adverbs and Conjunctions,
In Lillies Porch they stand to do their functions.
With Preposition; but the most affection
Was still observed in the Interjection.
The Substantive seeming the limbed best,
Would set an hand to bear him to his Rest.
The Adjective with very grief did say,
Hold me by strength, or I shall faint away.
The Clouds of Tears did over-cast their faces,
Yea all were in most lamentable Cases.


The General Public

"Ah, did you once see Shelley plain?" -- Browning.
"Shelley? Oh, yes, I saw him often then,"
The old man said. A dry smile creased his face
With many wrinkles. "That's a great poem, now!
That one of Browning's! Shelley? Shelley plain?
The time that I remember best is this --

A thin mire crept along the rutted ways,
And all the trees were harried by cold rain
That drove a moment fiercely and then ceased,
Falling so slow it hung like a grey mist
Over the school. The walks were like blurred glass.


The Forgotten Dialect Of The Heart

How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient
tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would


The Filipino Politician

When he finds his wife in bed with another man--

The conservative politician feels an ache in his stomach,
remembers the longanisa and the tapa he had for breakfast.
He doesn't know whether to get the doctor or Cardinal Sin
on the phone. He calls one of his bodyguards, tells him
to shoot the man and then, his wife. He takes his .38 magnum
from his brief case, shoots his bodyguard in the back.

The liberal politician pours himself a glass of Courvoisier,
remembers a passage from an Anais Nin story.


The Epic Stars

The heroic stars spending themselves,
Coining their very flesh into bullets for the lost battle,
They must burn out at length like used candles;
And Mother Night will weep in her triumph, taking home her heroes.
There is the stuff for an epic poem--
This magnificent raid at the heart of darkness, this lost battle--
We don't know enough, we'll never know.
Oh happy Homer, taking the stars and the Gods for granted.


Submitted by Holt


The Dump

He died, and I admired
the crisp vehemence
of a lifetime reduced to
half a foot of shelf space.
But others came to me saying,
we too loved him, let us take you
to the place of our love.
So they showed me
everything, everything--
a cliff of notebooks
with every draft and erasure
of every poem he
published or rejected,
thatched already
with webs of annotation.
I went in further and saw
a hill of matchcovers
from every bar or restaurant
he'd ever entered. Trucks


The Dover Bitch A Criticism Of Life

So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, 'Try to be true to me,
And I'll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc., etc.'
Well now, I knew this girl. It's true she had read
Sophocles in a fairly good translation
And caught that bitter allusion to the sea,
But all the time he was talking she had in mind
the notion of what his whiskers would feel like
On the back of her neck. She told me later on


The Day is Done

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of night
As a feather wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me
That my soul cannot resist:

A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,


The Death of Cromwell

A Poem upon the Death of His Late Highness the Lord Protector

That Providence which had so long the care
Of Cromwell's head, and numbered every hair,
Now in itself (the glass where all appears)
Had seen the period of his golden years:
And thenceforh only did attend to trace
What death might least so fair a life deface.

The people, which what most they fear esteem,
Death when more horrid, so more noble deem,
And blame the last act, like spectators vain,
Unless the prince whom they applaud be slain.


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