Gavin’s poetry

One of the guys I know from a boarding house a few doors down writes poetry. In fact he talks with rhymes (the most frequent one being ‘may your familEE be healthEE for eternitEE’). Anyway, I came across this one from him today:

A good man’s steps are ordered by the Lord
And he will never live by the sword
And we all could be one accord
As we follow Jesus our Lord
That much we can afford
Don’t live by the sword
Love the Lord.

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The Trouble With Our State by Daniel Berrigan

The trouble with our state
was not civil disobedience
which in any case was hesitant and rare.

Civil disobedience was rare as kidney stone
No, rarer; it was disappearing like immigrant’s disease.

You’ve heard of a war on cancer?
There is no war like the plague of media
There is no war like routine
There is no war like 3 square meals
There is no war like a prevailing wind.

It flows softly; whispers
don’t rock the boat!
The sails obey, the ship of state rolls on.

The trouble with our state
— we learned only afterward
when the dead resembled the living who resembled the dead
and civil virtue shone like paint on tin
and tin citizens and tin soldiers marched to the common whip

— our trouble
the trouble with our state
with our state of soul
our state of siege

was
Civil
Obedience.

the wit and wisdom of sesame street (or, why I like children’s television)

Gordon: Where’d you get that shopping cart full of cookies Cookie Monster?
Cookie Monster: Me won poetry contest.
Gordon: You wrote a poem? Can we hear it?
Cookie Monster: Me was going to call it “Ode to Cookie” but me not know what ‘ode’ is. So me just call it “Cookie”. * ahem *

Cookie.
Cookie.
Cookie…

Schmookie.

Big Bird (slowly, thoughtfully): I like it. It has a surprise ending.

archy the cockroach

I grew up on this poetry by Don Marquis, about a cockroach named Archy who typed at night. of course, unable to use the shift key, he uses no punctuation. but he has a unique and often amusing insight into life as an insect, and hence, life as a human.

This is probably my favourite:

the lesson of the moth

By Don Marquis, in “archy and mehitabel,” 1927

i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
thing for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense

plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with the routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while
so we wad all our life up
into one little roll
and then we shoot the roll
that is what life is for
it is better to be a part of beauty
for one instant and then cease to
exist than to exist forever
and never be a part of beauty
our attitude toward life
is come easy go easy
we are like human beings
used to be before they became
too civilized to enjoy themselves

and before i could argue him
out of his philosophy
he went and immolated himself
on a patent cigar lighter
i do not agree with him
myself i would rather have
half the happiness and twice
the longevity

but at the same time i wish
there was something i wanted
as badly as he wanted to fry himself

archy

followed closely by:

warty bliggens, the toad

By Don Marquis, in “archy and mehitabel,” 1927

i met a toad
the other day by the name
of warty bliggens
he was sitting under
a toadstool
feeling contented
he explained that when the cosmos
was created
that toadstool was especially
planned for his personal
shelter from sun and rain
thought out and prepared
for him

do not tell me
said warty bliggens
that there is not a purpose
in the universe
the thought is blasphemy
a little more
conversation revealed
that warty bliggens
considers himself to be
the center of the same
universe
the earth exists
to grow toadstools for him
to sit under
the sun to give him light
by day and the moon
and wheeling constellations
to make beautiful
the night for the sake of
warty bliggens

to what act of yours
do you impute
this interest on the part
of the creator
of the universe
i asked him
why is it that you
are so greatly favored

ask rather
said warty bliggens
what the universe
has done to deserve me
if i were a
human being i would
not laugh
too complacently
at poor warty bliggens
for similar
absurdities
have only too often
lodged in the crinkles
of the human cerebrum

archy

it strikes me just now that perhaps the moth and warty bliggens are two sides of the same coin; and maybe that’s what I love about them both.