By Russell Edson
Let us consider the farmer who makes his straw hat his
sweetheart; or the old woman who makes a floor lamp her son;
or the young woman who has set herself the task of scraping
her shadow off a wall….
Let us consider the old woman who wore smoked cows’
tongues for shoes and walked a meadow gathering cow chips
in her apron; or a mirror grown dark with age that was given
to a blind man who spent his nights looking into it, which
saddened his mother, that her son should be so lost in
Let us consider the man who fried roses for his dinner,
whose kitchen smelled like a burning rose garden; or the man
who disguised himself as a moth and ate his overcoat, and for
dessert served himself a chilled fedora….
Russell Edson, "Let Us Consider" from The Rooster's Wife. Copyright © 2005 by Russell Edson. Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.
Source: The Rooster’s Wife (BOA Editions Ltd., 2005)
Edson studied art early in life and attended the Art Students League when he was 16. In the 1960s he began publishing poetry; since then, he has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Russell Edson’s prose poems are often populated with strange and intriguing figures: a woman fights a tree, a mother serves ape. The poems are surreal and fablelike, sometimes resembling brief plays. He lived for many years in Stamford, Connecticut.
More By This Poet
After a series of indiscretions a man stumbled homeward, thinking, now that I am going down from my misbehavior I am to be forgiven, because how I acted was not the true self, which I am now returning to. And...
A little girl made of sugar and spice and everything nice was eaten by someone with a sweet tooth the size of an elephant’s tusk.
Ah, he said, this darn tooth, it’s driving me nuts.
Then another voice is heard. It’s the...
More Poems about Arts & Sciences
Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark
I play the egg
and I play the triangle
I play the reed
and I play each angle
I play the lyre
and I play the lute
I play the snare
and I play the flute
I play the licorice stick
and I play the juke
I play the kettle
The man I pulled tonight
carried a load of books.
When I felt him watching
me uphill, I grimaced.
He gave me lunar
cakes the size
of two camel humps.
When I answered him,
I smiled to his face.
He wore the moonlight
in his specs. Pant
seams clean as the...
More Poems about Mythology & Folklore
It’s true: I almost never
smile, but that doesn’t mean
I’m not in love: my heart
is that black violin
played slowly. You know that
moment late in the solo
when the voice
is so pure you feel
the blood in it: the wound
and complete surrender. That’s
In this dream,
the paths cross
and cross again.
They are spelling
a real boy
out of repetition.
is the one
he must be
about this, but
he can’t feel
and the fisherman,
the fireman and
the ones on fire.
More Poems about Relationships
Back Up Quick They’re Hippies
That was the year we drove
into the commune in Cornwall.
“Jesus Jim,” mam said,
“back up quick they’re hippies.”
Through the car window,
tents, row after row, flaps open,
long-haired men and women
curled around each other like babies
and the babies themselves
wandered naked across the grass.
In the warmth of night I put feet to my plan: waited
for my brothers to sleep. They’d spent the day
sharpening their hooks, repairing the great net,
filling gourds with fresh water. They’d bundled
taro wrapped in leaves sitting below the cross seats.