Little Birds By Lewis Carroll

Little Birds

Little Birds are dining
Warily and well,
Hid in mossy cell:
Hid, I say, by waiters
Gorgeous in their gaiters –
I’ve a Tale to tell.

Little Birds are feeding
Justices with jam,
Rich in frizzled ham:
Rich, I say, in oysters
Haunting shady cloisters –
That is what I am.

Little Birds are teaching
Tigresses to smile,
Innocent of guile:
Smile, I say, not smirkle –
Mouth a semicircle,
That’s the proper style!

Little Birds are sleeping
All among the pins,
Where the loser wins:
Where, I say, he sneezes
When and how he pleases –
So the Tale begins.

Little Birds are writing
Interesting books,
To be read by cooks:
Read, I say, not roasted –
Letterpress, when toasted,
Loses its good looks.

Little Birds are playing
Bagpipes on the shore,
Where the tourists snore:
“Thanks!” they cry. “‘Tis thrilling!
Take, oh take this shilling!
Let us have no more!”

Little Birds are bathing
Crocodiles in cream,
Like a happy dream:
Like, but not so lasting –
Crocodiles, when fasting,
Are not all they seem!

Little Birds are choking
Baronets with bun,
Taught to fire a gun:
Taught, I say, to splinter
Salmon in the winter –
Merely for the fun.

Little Birds are hiding
Crimes in carpet-bags,
Blessed by happy stags:
Blessed, I say, though beaten –
Since our friends are eaten
When the memory flags.

Little Birds are tasting
Gratitude and gold,
Pale with sudden cold:
Pale, I say, and wrinkled –
When the bells have tinkled,
And the Tale is told.

Lewis Carroll

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Affection By Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

Affection

The earth that made the rose,
She also is thy mother, and not I.
The flame wherewith thy maiden spirit glows
Was lighted at no hearth that I sit by.
I am as far below as heaven above thee.
Were I thine angel, more I could not love thee.

Bid me defend thee!
Thy danger over-human strength shall lend me,
A hand of iron and a heart of steel,
To strike, to wound, to slay, and not to feel.
But if you chide me,
I am a weak, defenceless child beside thee.

Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

Drinking Alone By Li Po

Drinking Alone

I take my wine jug out among the flowers
to drink alone, without friends.

I raise my cup to entice the moon.
That, and my shadow, makes us three.

But the moon doesn’t drink,
and my shadow silently follows.

I will travel with moon and shadow,
happy to the end of spring.

When I sing, the moon dances.
When I dance, my shadow dances, too.

We share life’s joys when sober.
Drunk, each goes a separate way.

Constant friends, although we wander,
we’ll meet again in the Milky Way.

[Li T’ai-po tr. Hamil]

Li Po

That Man In Black

Who is that man?

the one in darker colors,

hues of charcoal,

pigment de negro,

with his back turned to the world,

one who was defined by fear,

stalled by circumstance,

his own urbane passenger,

drenched in sky’s teardrop,

he tumbles,

breaks free,

chains which once restrained,

and hid the light,

his friends would always do,

he didn’t understand,

his accounts were paid,

yet he did not comprehend,

the scale,

vices in his license,

to carry on,

as the clock strikes zero,

he rides again,

knowing debts valued,

that man in black,

can reclaim.