Sippican Cottage

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We Nurse Them With Acetylene And Ultraviolet Light

SPANNERS
by: Sippican Cottage

Sun’s beaming in the window,
There’s rumbling from the floor,
We’re rollicking and pulsing
Boxes dancing out the door.

Oh how our muscles ripple,
We’re making twenty knots,
We’re alternating; current —
We’re glowing with the watts.

Pounding down the corridors,
With Bills of Lading, piled;
Our output’s put the boss on ice
We’re blowing out the dials.

They count the beans but can’t keep up,
We’re cooking with the gas;
Our arms are made from tempered steel,
Our heart is made of brass.

That brass is rolled to make a tube,
The tube is bent just so;
And when we blow that trumpet, Jack,
The girls get all aglow.

The whistle blows at five o’clock,
It’s twenty-three skidoo;
The guys and gals that made that stuff,
Go out for dancing too.

They box the compass of the steps
Then swing from chandeliers;
They leave the clerks there in the lurch
Then kick it up a gear.

They pound the floor into the ground,
They swing and then they sway;
They’d drink to all their troubles,
But they’ve long since gone away.

They close the places late at night,
And walk beneath the stars;
Arm in arm, exchanging charms
One’s Venus, one is Mars.

Mighty children spring from them,
To keep the flame alight;
They nurse them with acetylene,
And ultra-violet light.

They grow some whiskers when they’re old,
And sit down for a spell;
Their Ercoles will take their place,
And raise a little hell.

In Hardwood Groves

In Hardwood Groves - Robert Frost 
 
The same leaves over and over again!
They fall from giving shade above
To make one texture of faded brown
And fit the earth like a leather glove.

Before the leaves can mount again
To fill the trees with another shade,
They must go down past things coming up.
They must go down into the dark decayed.

They must be pierced by flowers and put
Beneath the feet of dancing flowers.
However it is in some other world
I know that this is way in ours.

Being Odd Is An Excellent Career Move

cold nights on the farm, a sock-shod
stove-warmed flatiron slid under
the covers, mornings a damascene-
sealed bizarrerie of fernwork
        decades ago now

waking in northwest London, tea
brought up steaming, a Peak Frean
biscuit alongside to be nibbled
as blue gas leaps up singing
        decades ago now

damp sheets in Dorset, fog-hung
habitat of bronchitis, of long
hot soaks in the bathtub, of nothing
quite drying out till next summer:
        delicious to think of

hassocks pulled in close, toasting-
forks held to coal-glow, strong-minded
small boys and big eager sheepdogs
muscling in on bookish profundities
        now quite forgotten

the farmhouse long sold, old friends
dead or lost track of, what's salvaged
is this vivid diminuendo, unfogged
by mere affect, the perishing residue
        of pure sensation
 

–On The Disadvantages of Central Heating, by Amy Clampitt

A Polish Man Murders Fifty People In Galway

They have been coached their whole live-long. They are eager to be put on the spot, because they do not recognize it for what it is. They are prepared to flense the hide from another with the edge of their tongue, but no target is proffered. They are put on another spot, one they prefer to keep at home in front of a mirror, cracked. But they warm to their task like devils.

It is a deformed and crazy uncle in the belfry. It must not get out or he will desolate the landscape, entire. They have been coached to say nothing, lest they answer everything. They go to the confessional and eagerly assent that they’ve stolen a pencil they’ve never touched, while the corpses are stacked like cordwood in the secret cellar of their heart. They smile but there’s a dab of lime on their cheek.

They regret everything, except their lack of regret. This they wear like a badge on their sleeve. The cannonballs of life have taken their arm and the sleeve hangs empty; they say it tingles still.

There is only one regret in this world and I don’t have it.

When You are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

–W. B. Yeats

O Eeys That Loke

O Eeys That Loke
by: Sippican Cottage

Banquo’s ghosts all shuffle in 
Take their chairs and we begin 
They whisper things incessantly 
Beyond the ken of men like me 
I want to speak but I am mute 
So they continue in cahoots 
Or I can speak but never dare 
To make a squeak while they are there 
They hold a mirror to my face 
While drawing marks to prove their case 
Regret is limned in every one 
Perish crosshatched when they’re done 
The statue’s broke, there’s no repair 
But broken now it cannot wear 
But I am worn down — there’s the rub 
Until I join their shady club 
There’s one among them I can’t stand 
I’ve felt the touch of his right hand 
If he ever looks me in the eye 
I’ll lay down on the ground and die 
It’s worse than that; he does not linger 
Or look my way or lift a finger 
I turned my back on him you see 
Can’t help but turn his back on me 
Now I wander all alone 
The seconds tick by like a loan 
I’ll sit and murmur in my turn 
While children fill my leaky urn

Flint And Steel Make A Spark

SPANNERS
by: Sippican Cottage

Sun’s beaming in the window,
There’s rumbling from the floor,
We’re swinging while we’re swaying
Boxes dancing out the door.

Oh how our muscles ripple,
We’re making twenty knots,
We’re alternating; current —
We’re glowing with the watts.

Pounding down the corridors,
With Bill of Lading piles;
Our output’s put the boss on ice
We’re blowing out the dials.

They count the beans but can’t keep up,
We’re cooking with the gas;
Our arms are made from tempered steel,
Our heart is made of brass.

That brass is rolled to make a tube,
The tube is bent just so;
And if we blow that trumpet, Jack,
The girls get all aglow.

The whistle blows at five o’clock,
It’s twenty-three skidoo;
The guys and gals that made that stuff,
Go out for dancing too.

They box the compass of the steps
Then swing from chandeliers;
They leave the clerks there in the lurch
Then kick it up a gear.

They pound the floor into the ground,
They swing and then they sway;
They’d drink to all their troubles,
But they’ve long since gone away.

They close the places late at night,
And walk home ‘neath the stars;
Arm in arm, exchanging charms
One’s Venus, one is Mars.

Mighty children spring from them,
To keep the flame alight;
They nurse them with acetylene,
And ultra-violet light.

They grow some whiskers when they’re old,
And sit down for a spell;
Their Ercoles will take their place,
And raise a little hell.

Put Your Back Into It

I don’t know what tomorrow brings,
But I made just eight cents today;
Shouldered wheels at many things,
And danced and sang a cabaret.

Thousands looked upon my wares,
And sat upon their lumps of gelt;
They mimicked all they couldn’t steal
To plop on their conveyor belts.

Electrocution is my fate;
Before, they sound a little tone.
But I don’t dare recriminate
In hopes they’ll throw a little bone.

There’s little left for me to hope,
I will not steal, I cannot borrow,
But if I feed my zoetrope,
Perhaps I’ll earn nine cents tomorrow.

A Beard White With Eld

The caesars wan come forth to peddle luck
They promise things that surely cannot be
They tread upon fresh boards laid through our muck
And supper slippered with our absentee

Their words are dripping treacle for the child
While mothers beat the rocks against the glue
An oven hidden waits for the beguiled
Their harpies stand to claim the residue

In ashes, ashes all comes tumbling down
The babies murmur, turn a closing gyre
The nursery a sad and ghostly town
Just dogs to lift a leg upon the pyre

The dogs lie down to slumber in the snow
The sled is stuck with miles still left to go

Take Another Bite Of Your Apple Economy



My father, now dead and buried, used to joke when his children left the house to play: Write if you get work!

There’s nothing but the blackest residue of humor left in any gibe like that for anyone I care about. There’s no joke left in nearly anything for me anymore. Decent people don’t joke about cancer in a funeral home with the corpse and the family present.

I can spot no class of squalid self-interested behavior that hasn’t been perfected, never mind tried, by the legions of invertebrates, possessed of no souls and negligible intellects, that lord over our affairs, great and small — affairs they should be ashamed in their ignorance and sloth to even comment upon. They know nothing of steel and wood and earth and sweat, just the faint yellow musk of ink and paper and the weight of  the great, stolen seals of an empire gone shabby in their pockets.


Hoard gold. Amalgamate pixels. Cultivate politicians. Mine clauses. Weasel patents. Stripmine people, and sell them into a titanic servitude for them for a trifle for you; but no matter what, don’t allow anyone to do anything. A whiff of perspiration on the breeze –even a hint of duty — disturbs the International Brotherhood of Lotos-Eaters.

The Lotos blooms below the barren peak:
The Lotos blows by every winding creek:
All day the wind breathes low with mellower tone:
Thro’ every hollow cave and alley lone
Round and round the spicy downs the yellow Lotos-dust is blown.
We have had enough of action, and of motion we,
Roll’d to starboard, roll’d to larboard, when the surge was seething free,
Where the wallowing monster spouted his foam-fountains in the sea.
Let us swear an oath, and keep it with an equal mind,
In the hollow Lotos-land to live and lie reclined
On the hills like Gods together, careless of mankind.
For they lie beside their nectar, and the bolts are hurl’d
Far below them in the valleys, and the clouds are lightly curl’d
Round their golden houses, girdled with the gleaming world:
Where they smile in secret, looking over wasted lands,
Blight and famine, plague and earthquake, roaring deeps and fiery sands,
Clanging fights, and flaming towns, and sinking ships, and praying
hands.

But they smile, they find a music centred in a doleful song
Steaming up, a lamentation and an ancient tale of wrong,
Like a tale of little meaning tho’ the words are strong;
Chanted from an ill-used race of men that cleave the soil,
Sow the seed, and reap the harvest with enduring toil,
Storing yearly little dues of wheat, and wine and oil;
Till they perish and they suffer–some, ’tis whisper’d–down in hell
Suffer endless anguish, others in Elysian valleys dwell,
Resting weary limbs at last on beds of asphodel.
Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore
Than labour in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar;
O, rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more.

Tennyson

A Race Of Angels, Bound With One Another; A Dish Of Dollars Laid Out For All To See



“City Trees”

The trees along this city street,
Save for the traffic and the trains,
Would make a sound as thin and sweet
As trees in country lanes.

And people standing in their shade
Out of a shower, undoubtedly
Would hear such music as is made
Upon a country tree.

Oh, little leaves that are so dumb
Against the shrieking city air,
I watch you when the wind has come,–
I know what sound is there.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

Tag: poetry

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