By George Starbuck
Here is the grackle, people.
Here is the fox, folks.
The grackle sits in the bracken. The fox
Here are the fronds, friends,
that cover the fox.
The fronds get in a frenzy. The grackle
Here are the ticks, tykes,
that live in the leaves, loves.
The fox is confounded,
and God is above.
George Starbuck, “Fable for Blackboard” from Bone Thoughts. Copyright © 1960 by George Starbuck. Reprinted with the permission of Yale University Press.
Source: The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades (The University of Alabama Press, 2003)
George Starbuck was born in Columbus, Ohio. He attended the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, the University of Chicago, and Harvard University. Starbuck spent two years as a corporal in the Military Police Corps before working at various universities. Starbuck was also a contributor to numerous periodicals including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and Poetry magazine. He died in 1996 after a twenty-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
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Translations from the English
Pigfoot (with Aces Under) Passes
The heat’s on the hooker.
Drop’s on the lam.
Cops got Booker.
Who give a damn?
The Kid’s been had
But not me yet.
Dad’s in his pad.
Margaret Are You Drug
Cool it Mag.
Sure it’s a drag
With all that green flaked out.
Virgin, sappy, gorgeous, the right-now
Flutters its huge prosthetics at us, flung
To the spotlights, frozen in motion, center-ice.
And the first rows, shaken with an afterslice
That’s bowled them into their seats like a big wet ciao.
O daffy panoply O rare device
More Poems about Activities
Vagrants and Loiterers
You got that clean waistcoat,
the bright white of a well-tailored
shirt, you got those loose-as-sacks
slacks and some spit-polished shoes,
and you know, whether you are looking
like money, or about to take a stroll,
to tilt that hat like you own
the world; yeah, smoke...
When I was “in despair” (the dark days
when I actually used such terms)
I noticed the behavior of animals —
sleep when tired, eat when hungry
That made a lot of sense to me
and yet I felt different
More Poems about Nature
What Women Are Made Of
We are all ventricle, spine, lung, larynx, and gut.
Clavicle and nape, what lies forked in an open palm;
we are follicle and temple. We are ankle, arch,
sole. Pore and rib, pelvis and root
and tongue. We are wishbone and gland and molar
Of Tribulation, these are They,
Denoted by the White.
— Emily Dickinson
in the split geode
a Santa’s grotto
every surface —
like sea urchins’ —
in the doorways
sleepers from the womb
to make of anything succulent