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
I come home,
feet about to bleed
from angry stomping.
“Boy!” says Mom.
“Quit making all that racket.”
But what does she expect
when, day after day,
haters sling words at me
like jagged stones
designed to split my skin?
I retreat to my room,
collapse on the bed,
count, “One. Two....
Nowhere Else to Go
Turn off the lights.
Wear another layer.
(Sounds like a dad.)
(Sounds like a mom.)
You say hand-me-down.
I say retro.
Walk some more.
(See what I did there,
Your name in Sharpie
on a good water bottle.
Backpack. New habits.
No thanks, don’t need a bag.
Tell ten friends
More Poems about Arts & Sciences
The Last Word
I am a door of metaphor
waiting to be opened.
You’ll find no lock, no key.
All are free to enter, at will.
Simply step over the threshold.
Remember to dress for travel, though.
Visitors have been known
to get carried away.Illustration by Shadra Strickland
The Racist Bone
I know this is a real thing, because
When I was a kid, my big sister took me
To the Capitol Theater, in my hometown
Of Rochester, NY,
And there was a movie that afternoon,
The Tingler, which starred Vincent Price,
And what I remember best...
More Poems about Relationships
A wishbone branch falls
from my Grandma Thelma’s oak
What do you know about magic? e1 asks.
E bends e old body down, turns
the wishbone branch into
a cross, places it around my neck.
I am strapped at the Black River’s right shoulder,
When I was a boy
I was either a child eating bugs
or a child being eaten by bugs, but
now that I am older am I a man
who devours the world or am I a man
being devoured by the world?
Someone once told...