The Hen and the Oriole

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April is National Poetry Month, and I plan to post one poem per day, every day this month (If you have a favorite poem that you'd like me to share, feel free to email it to me). Today's poem was suggested by a reader and friend who writes that "I am not much for poetry, generally. But I have always had a soft spot for Don Marquis. This is one of my favorites."

The Hen and the Oriole

well boss did it
ever strike you that a
hen regrets it just as
much when they wring her
neck as an oriole but
nobody has any
sympathy for a hen because
she is not beautiful
while every one gets
sentimental over the
oriole and says how
shocking to kill the
lovely thing this thought
comes to my mind
because of the earnest
endeavor of a
gentleman to squash me
yesterday afternoon when i
was riding up in the
elevator if i had been a
butterfly he would have
said how did that
beautiful thing happen to
find its way into
these grimy city streets do
not harm the splendid
creature but let it
fly back to its rural
haunts again beauty always
gets the best of
it be beautiful boss
a thing of beauty is a
joy forever
be handsome boss
and let who will be clever is
the sad advice
of your ugly little friend

-- Don Marquis, The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel (Penguin Classics; 2006).

An introduction to Don Marquis's 1950 collection of the Archy and Mehitabel poems by EB White.

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i hearts archy and mehitabel so much

By themadlolscientist (not verified) on 09 Apr 2008 #permalink