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A few favourites . . . . .

I could happily include the entire output of John Betjemen here, but it is still in copyright, I think!

Self Pity

   I never saw a wild thing
   sorry for itself
   A small bird will drop dead from a bough, frozen,
   without ever having felt sorry for itself.

D. H. Lawrence.

Parents and Children

   As tall as your knee, they are pretty to see;
   As tall as your head, they wish you were dead.


Willy Wet-Leg

   I canít stand Willy Wet-Leg,
   Canít stand him at any price.
   Heís resigned, and when you hit him
   he lets you hit him twice.

D. H. Lawrence.


   Grass of levity
   Span in brevity
   Flower's felicity
   Fire of misery,
   Wind's stability,
   Is mortality.



   It's odd enough to be alive with others,
   But odder still to have sisters and brothers:
   To make one of a characteristic litter -
   The sisters puzzled and vexed, the brothers vexed and bitter
   That this one wears, though flattened by abuse,
   The family nose for individual use.

Robert Graves.

An all-time favourite:


Webster was much possessed by death
And saw the skull beneath the skin;
And breastless creatures under ground
Leaned backwards with a lipless grin.

Daffodil bulbs instead of balls
Stared from the sockets of the eyes!
He knew that thought clings round dead limbs
Tightening its lusts and luxuries.

Donne, I suppose, was such another
Who found no substitute for sense,
To seize and clutch and penetrate;
Expert beyond experience;

He knew the anguish of the marrow
The ague of the skeleton;
No contact possible to flesh
Allayed the fever of the bone.


Grishkin is nice: her Russian eye
Is underlined for emphasis;
Uncorseted, her friendly bust
Gives promise of pneumatic bliss.

The couched Brazilian jaguar
Compels the scampering marmoset
With subtle effluence of cat;
Grishkin has a maisonette.

The sleek Brazilian jaguar
Does not in its aboreal gloom
Distil so rank a feline smell
As Grishkin in a drawing room.

And even the Abstract Entities
Circumambulate her charm;
But our lot crawls between dry ribs
To keep our metaphysics warm.

T.S. Elliot. 1920

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