We present this work in honor of the poet’s 140th birthday.
“Are you feeling cold?” you asked me. I couldn’t deny that I was: you’d detected it in my countenance and possibly even my voice.
You were also feeling cold. I could tell, though not by your face; it’s as if your soul were kept on display to mine in a crystal vase. “Close the door!” you commanded. I thought: what we ought to close instead is that book of yours… That book was the source of the cold.
We present this work in honor of World Tourism Day.
Travel they say improves the mind, An irritating platitude, which frankly, entre nous, Is very far from true.
Personally I’ve yet to find that longitude and latitude can educate those scores of monumental bores Who travel in groups and herds and troupes Of varying breeds and sexes Till the whole world reels…
to shouts and squeals… And the clicking of Rolleiflexes.
Why do the wrong people travel, travel, travel When the right people stay back home? What compulsion compels them and who the hell tells them To drag their cans to Zanzibar, instead of staying quietly in Omaha. The Taj Mahal and the Grand Canal And the sunny French Rivera Would be less oppressed if the Middle West Would settle for somewhere rather nearer. Please do not think that I criticize or cavel at a genuine urge to roam. But why, oh why, do the wrong people travel
when the right people stay back home And mind their business when the right people stay back home And eat hot doughnuts when the right people stay back home I sometimes wonder why the right people stay back home.
Just when you think romance is ripe it rather sharply dawns on you That each sweet serenade is for the tourist trade Any attractive native type who resolutely fawns on you Will give as his address American Express There isn’t a rock between Bangkok and the beaches of Hispianola That does not recoil from suntan oil and the gurgle of Coca-Cola
Why do the wrong people travel, travel, travel When the right people stay back home? What explains this mass mania to leave Pennsylvania And clack around like flocks of geese. Demanding dry martinis on the isles of Greece In the smallest street, where the gourmets meet, They invariably fetch up And it’s hard to make them accept a steak that isn’t served rare and smeared with ketchup.
Millions of tourists are churning up the gravel While they gaze at St. Peter’s Dome,
But why, oh why do the wrong people travel when the right people stay back home with Cinerama when the right people stay back home with all that Kleenex when the right people stay back home I merely asking why the right people stay back home
What peculiar obsessions inspire those processions Of families from Houston Tex with all those cameras around their necks? They will take a train Or an aeroplane For an hour on the Costa Brava, And they’ll see Pompeii On the only day When it’s up to its ass in molten lava! It would take years to unravel, ravel, ravel Every impulse that makes them wanna roam. But why oh WHY do the wrong people travel When the right people stay at home.” and Yogie Bear-O when the right people stay back home won’t someone tell me why the right people stay back home.
The moon is dark tonight, a new moon for a new year. It is hollow and hungers to be full. It is the black zero of beginning.
Now you must void yourself of injuries, insults, incursions. Go with empty hands to those you have hurt and make amends.
It is not too late. It is early and about to grow. Now is the time to do what you know you must and have feared to begin. Your face is dark too as you turn inward to face yourself, the hidden twin of all you must grow to be.
Forgive the dead year. Forgive yourself. What will be wants to push through your fingers. The light you seek hides in your belly. The light you crave longs to stream from your eyes. You are the moon that will wax in new goodness.
We present this work in honor of the 85th anniversary of the poet’s death.
There was a young patrolman who Had large but tender feet; They always hurt him badly when He walked upon his beat. (He always took them with him when He walked upon his beat.)
His name was Patrick Casey and A sweetheart fair had he; Her face was full of freckles but Her name was Kate McGee. (It was in spite of freckles that Her name was Kate McGee.)
‘Oh, Pat!’ she said, ‘I’ll wed you when Promotion comes to you!’ ‘I’m much-obliged,’ he answered, and ‘I’ll see what I can do.’ (I may remark he said it thus? ‘Oi’ll say phwat Oi kin do.’)
So then he bought some new shoes which Allowed his feet more ease? They may have been large twelves. Perhaps Eighteens, or twenty-threes. (That’s rather large for shoes, I think? Eighteens or twenty-threes!)
What last they were I don’t know, but Somehow it seems to me I’ve heard somewhere they either were A, B, C, D, or E. (More likely they were five lasts wide? A, B plus C, D, E.)
They were the stoutest cowhide that Could be peeled off a cow.
But he was not promoted
So Kate wed him anyhow.
(This world is crowded full of Kates That wed them anyhow.)
Gracefully she approached, in a dress of bright blue silk; With an olive branch in her hand, and many tales of sorrows in her eyes. Running to her, I greeted her, and took her hand in mine: Pulses could still be felt in her veins; warm was still her body with life.
“But you are dead, mother”, I said; “Oh, many years ago you died!” Neither of embalmment she smelled, Nor in a shroud was she wrapped.
I gave a glance at the olive branch; she held it out to me, And said with a smile, “It is the sign of peace; take it.”
I took it from her and said, “Yes, it is the sign of…”, when My voice and peace were broken by the violent arrival of a horseman. He carried a dagger under his tunic with which he shaped the olive branch Into a rod and looking at it he said to himself: “Not too bad a cane for punishing the sinners!” A real image of a hellish pain! Then, to hide the rod, He opened his saddlebag. in there, O God! I saw a dead dove, with a string tied round its broken neck.
My mother walked away with anger and sorrow; my eyes followed her; Like the mourners she wore a dress of black silk.
I hear your call! I hear it far away; I hear it break the circle of these crouching hills.
I want to view your face again and feel your cold embrace; or at your brim to set myself and inhale your breath; or like the trees, to watch my mirrored self unfold and span my days with song from the lips of dawn. I hear your lapping call! I hear it coming through; invoking the ghost of a child listening, where river birds hail your silver-surfaced flow.
My river’s calling too! Its ceaseless flow impels my found’ring canoe down its inevitable course. And each dying year brings near the sea-bird call, the final call that stills the crested waves and breaks in two the curtain of silence of my upturned canoe. O incomprehensible God! Shall my pilot be my inborn stars to that final call to Thee. O my river’s complex course?