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)
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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
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I will tell you why she rarely ventured from her house.
It happened like this:
One day she took the train to Boston,
made her way to the darkened room,
put her name down in cursive script
and waited her turn.
When they read her name...
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You remember the mermaid makes a deal,
her tongue evicted from her throat,
and moving is a knife-cut with every step.
This is what escape from water means.
Dear Colleagues, you write, for weeks
I’ve been typing this letter in the bright
kingdom of my imagination....
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sometimes I strain
Altered After Too Many Years Under the Mask
I feel you