Man, the egregious egoist,
(In mystery the twig is bent,)
Imagines, by some mental twist,
That he alone is sentient

Of the intolerable load
Which on all living creatures lies,
Nor stoops to pity in the toad
The speechless sorrow of its eyes.

He asks no questions of the snake,
Nor plumbs the phosphorescent gloom
Where lidless fishes, broad awake,
Swim staring at a night-mare doom.

  • Elinor Wylie, “Cold Blooded Creatures” from Selected Works of Elinor Wylie, edited by Evelyn Helmick Hively (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 2005). Reprinted with the permission of The Kent State University Press.

  • Source: Selected Works of Elinor Wylie (Kent State University Press, 2005)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I learned that I had the ability to capture the attention of an audience and evoke emotion from them. When I recited my first poem in 9th grade for a mock POL class competition, I was incredibly shy and barely audible. But eventually I grew to love sharing the emotions poems gave me."
Chiara Raimondo
2016 NY POL Champion