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Another smattering of poetry that I have yet to organize, mainly because A) I'm lazy, and B) I'm mainly posting them so that I can close the windows on my screen...


The More Loving One

by W. H. Auden

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well

That, for all they care, I can go to hell,

But on earth indifference is the least

We have to dread from man or beast.


How should we like it were stars to burn

With a passion for us we could not return?

If equal affection cannot be,

Let the more loving one be me.


Admirer as I think I am

Of stars that do not give a damn,

I cannot, now I see them, say

I missed one terribly all day.


Were all stars to disappear or die,

I should learn to look at an empty sky

And feel its total dark sublime,

Though this might take me a little time.


A Miracle for Breakfast

At six o'clock we were waiting for coffee,
waiting for coffee and the charitable crumb
that was going to be served from a certain balcony
--like kings of old, or like a miracle.
It was still dark. One foot of the sun
steadied itself on a long ripple in the river.

The first ferry of the day had just crossed the river.
It was so cold we hoped that the coffee
would be very hot, seeing that the sun
was not going to warm us; and that the crumb
would be a loaf each, buttered, by a miracle.
At seven a man stepped out on the balcony.

He stood for a minute alone on the balcony
looking over our heads toward the river.
A servant handed him the makings of a miracle,
consisting of one lone cup of coffee
and one roll, which he proceeded to crumb,
his head, so to speak, in the clouds--along with the sun.

Was the man crazy? What under the sun
was he trying to do, up there on his balcony!
Each man received one rather hard crumb,
which some flicked scornfully into the river,
and, in a cup, one drop of the coffee.
Some of us stood around, waiting for the miracle.

I can tell what I saw next; it was not a miracle.
A beautiful villa stood in the sun
and from its doors came the smell of hot coffee.
In front, a baroque white plaster balcony
added by birds, who nest along the river,
--I saw it with one eye close to the crumb--

and galleries and marble chambers. My crumb
my mansion, made for me by a miracle,
through ages, by insects, birds, and the river
working the stone. Every day, in the sun,
at breakfast time I sit on my balcony
with my feet up, and drink gallons of coffee.

We licked up the crumb and swallowed the coffee.
A window across the river caught the sun
as if the miracle were working, on the wrong balcony


The Naming of Cats
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
 It isn't just one of your holiday games;
 You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
 When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
 First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
 Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
 Such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey -
 All of them sensible everyday names.
 There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
 Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
 Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter -
 But all of them sensible everyday names.
 But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
 A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
 Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
 Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
 Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
 Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
 Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum -
 Names that never belong to more than one cat.
 But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
 And that is the name that you never will guess;
 The name that no human research can discover -
 But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
 When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
 The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
 His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
 Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
 His ineffable effable
 Effanineffable
 Deep and inscrutable singular Name.


One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

-- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster.

Elizabeth Bishop
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April 2012

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