By Christopher Smart
It ever was allow’d, dear Madam,
Ev’n from the days of father Adam,
Of all perfection flesh is heir to,
Fair patience is the gentlest virtue;
This is a truth our grandames teach,
Our poets sing, and parsons preach;
Yet after all, dear Moll, the fact is
We seldom put it into practice;
I’ll warrant (if one knew the truth)
You’ve call’d me many an idle youth,
And styled me rude ungrateful bear,
Enough to make a parson swear.
I shall not make a long oration
In order for my vindication,
For what the plague can I say more
Than lazy dogs have done before;
Such stuff is nought but mere tautology,
And so take that for my apology.
First then for custards, my dear Mary,
The produce of your dainty dairy,
For stew’d, for bak’d, for boil’d, for roast,
And all the teas and all the toast;
With thankful tongue and bowing attitude,
I here present you with my gratitude:
Next for you apples, pears and plums
Acknowledgment in order comes;
For wine, for ale, for fowl, for fish—for
Ev’n all one’s appetite can wish for:
But O ye pens, and O ye pencils,
And all ye scribbling utensils,
Say in what words and in what metre,
Shall unfeign’d admiration greet her,
For that rich banquet so refin’d
Her conversation gave the mind;
The solid meal of sense and worth,
Set off by the desert of mirth;
Wit’s fruit and pleasure’s genial bowl,
And all the joyous flow of soul;
For these, and every kind ingredient
That form’d your love—your most obedient.
More Poems about Activities
When you caught one to keep,
we took it home and I asked you to teach me.
You showed me how to spike the brain—
I thanked the fish, looked away, pressed down.
We bled it, shaved away the scales,
severed meat from bone.
A Wing and a Prayer
We thought the birds were singing louder. We were almost certain they
were. We spoke of this, when we spoke, if we spoke, on our zoom screens
or in the backyard with our podfolk. Dang, you hear those birds? Don’t
they sound loud?...
More Poems about Arts & Sciences
Listening in Deep Space
We've always been out looking for answers,
telling stories about ourselves,
searching for connection, choosing
to send out Stravinsky and whale song,
which, in translation, might very well be
our undoing instead of a welcome.
We launch satellites, probes, telescopes
unfolding like origami, navigating
geomagnetic storms, major disruptions.
Self-Portrait with Sylvia Plath’s Braid
Some women make a pilgrimage to visit it
in the Indiana library charged to keep it safe.
I didn’t drive to it; I dreamed it, the thick braid
roped over my hands, heavier than lead.
My own hair was long for years.
Then I became...
More Poems about Relationships
Mommy always wanted
To be famous
She would have us (my sister and me)
In all the talent shows
But I could not carry the harmony
Then she had me
Though The Isley Brothers
Ronald’s sweet voice and Vernon
Doing “the Itch”
Sort of like Michael Jackson
my dead grandmother’s young
Japanese maple was uprooted stolen
last week scattered leaves crushed
under a stranger’s foot. to recover