By Elinor Wylie
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)
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Momently grew heavier;
The black gauze was beggarly thin;
The ermine muffled mouth and chin;
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Of love and hate, I walked in these
Striped and ragged rigmaroles;
Along the pavement my footsoles
Too high, too high to pluck
My heart shall swing.
A fruit no bee shall suck,
No wasp shall sting.
If on some night of cold
It falls to ground
In apple-leaves of gold
I’ll wrap it round.
And I shall seal it up
With spice and salt,
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