The Akond of Swat

Who, or why, or which, or what, Is the Akond of SWAT?

Is he tall or short, or dark or fair?
Does he sit on a stool or a sofa or a chair,
      &nb sp; or SQUAT,
    The Akond of Swat?

Is he wise or foolish, young or old?
Does he drink his soup and his coffee cold,
      &nbs p; or HOT,
    The Akond of Swat?

Does he sing or whistle, jabber or talk,
And when riding abroad does he gallop or walk
      &nbsp ; or TROT,
    The Akond of Swat?


The Author's Early Life

I

I will write a sketch of my early life,
It will be of childhood day,
And all who chance to read it,
No criticism, pray.
My childhood days were happy,
And it fills my heart with woe,
To muse o'er the days that have passed by
And the scenes of long ago.
In the days of my early childhood,
Kent county was quite wild,
Especially the towns I lived in
When I was a little child.
I will not speak of my birthplace,
For if you will only look
O'er the little poem, My Childhood Days,


The Author to the Reader

I sing the fortune of a luckless pair,
Whose spotless souls now in one body be;
For beauty still is Prodromus to care,
Crost by the sad stars of nativity:
And of the strange enchantment of a well,
Given by the Gods, my sportive muse doth write,
Which sweet-lipp'd Ovid long ago did tell,
Wherein who bathes, straight turns Hermaphrodite:
I hope my poem is so lively writ,
That thou wilt turn half-mad with reading it.


The Anactoria Poem

Some say thronging cavalry, some say foot soldiers,
others call a fleet the most beautiful of
sights the dark earth offers, but I say it's what-
ever you love best.

And it's easy to make this understood by
everyone, for she who surpassed all human
kind in beauty, Helen, abandoning her
husband--that best of

men--went sailing off to the shores of Troy and
never spent a thought on her child or loving
parents: when the goddess seduced her wits and
left her to wander,


The Afterlife Letter To Sam Hamill

You may think it strange, Sam, that I'm writing
a letter in these circumstances. I thought
it strange too--the first time. But there's
a misconception I was laboring under, and you
are too, viz. that the imagination in your
vicinity is free and powerful. After all,
you say, you've been creating yourself all
along imaginatively. You imagine yourself
playing golf or hiking in the Olympics or
writing a poem and then it becomes true.
But you still have to do it, you have to exert


The Abnormal Is Not Courage

The Poles rode out from Warsaw against the German
Tanks on horses. Rode knowing, in sunlight, with sabers,
A magnitude of beauty that allows me no peace.
And yet this poem would lessen that day. Question
The bravery. Say it's not courage. Call it a passion.
Would say courage isn't that. Not at its best.
It was impossib1e, and with form. They rode in sunlight,
Were mangled. But I say courage is not the abnormal.
Not the marvelous act. Not Macbeth with fine speeches.
The worthless can manage in public, or for the moment.


Temporary Poem Of My Time

Hebrew writing and Arabic writing go from east to west,
Latin writing, from west to east.
Languages are like cats:
You must not stroke their hair the wrong way.
The clouds come from the sea, the hot wind from the desert,
The trees bend in the wind,
And stones fly from all four winds,
Into all four winds. They throw stones,
Throw this land, one at the other,
But the land always falls back to the land.
They throw the land, want to get rid of it.
Its stones, its soil, but you can't get rid of it.


Take the I Out

But I love the I, steel I-beam
that my father sold. They poured the pig iron
into the mold, and it fed out slowly,
a bending jelly in the bath, and it hardened,
Bessemer, blister, crucible, alloy, and he
marketed it, and bought bourbon, and Cream
of Wheat, its curl of butter right
in the middle of its forehead, he paid for our dresses
with his metal sweat, sweet in the morning
and sour in the evening. I love the I,
frail between its flitches, its hard ground
and hard sky, it soars between them


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