Two poems about mortality, each funny in its own way.
On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness
by Arthur Guiterman
The tusks which clashed in mighty brawls
Of mastodons, are billiard balls.
The sword of Charlemagne the Just
Is Ferric Oxide, known as rust.
The grizzly bear, whose potent hug,
Was feared by all, is now a rug.
Great Caesar's bust is on the shelf,
And I don't feel so well myself.
Publication Date (from God's Silence)
by Franz Wright
One of the few pleasures of writing
is the thought of one's book in the hands of a kindhearted
intelligent person somewhere. I can't remember what the others
are right now.
I just noticed that it is my own private
National I Hate Myself and Want to Die Day
(which means the next day I will love my life
and want to live forever). The forecast calls
for a cold night in Boston all morning
and all afternoon. They say
tomorrow will be just like today,
only different. I'm in the cemetery now
at the edge of town, how did I get here?
A sparrow limps past on its little bone crutch saying
I am Federico García Lorca
risen from the dead—
literature will lose, sunlight will win, don't worry.
Poetry roundup is at The Miss Rumphius Effect.