Famous Poets

There are famous poets
In hallways,
Stacked on trolleys
Like cases of beer.

What to do with famous poets?
You can't just throw them out--
They might be worth something

Famous poets are nearly always men--
Even the women.
They say,
"See here,"
And then wander off.

I stacked famous poets in my fireplace--
Feet to foreheads,
Then lit them;
But they were damp and peevish,
Making more smoke than fire.

Christina Rossetti told me,
"Bury them deep,
So the dogs won't dig them up."

Emily Dickinson told me,
"Use them for compost,
Then bring your longing to my room."

I am as unknown as a laundress in the Famous Poets' House;
Even my pulse is a secret, known only to my cat,
And to each fresh-struck hour of the night.
I'm telling you,
I'm going to bring them all down.

No one will see me
Wheel the trolleys out to the fen--
Only one will hear me
Coming up the back stairs empty-handed

For One Shot Wednesday week 19

For the record, I adore Christina and Emily. The "famous poets" of my poem are the ones who, though terribly well-known, basically made me want to shoot myself in the head rather than study them.



Brian Miller said…
funny i never come away from reading you wanting to shoot myself...and only the really famous ones get t-shirts. smiles.
Anonymous said…
I just love this! Having taken a course in women's literature, this was so wonderful! You can rest assured that your poems are immensely enjoyed!

Sherry Blue Sky said…
"unknown as a laundress" - but so appreciated and enjoyed here! I laughed out loud at your comment after......you are so hilarious! Wonderful poem. Very.
hedgewitch said…
Yes, there's nothing more damp and peevish than a famous old poet--probably because so many of them were soaked in booze--no--then they'd go right up, wouldn't they? Loved the "unknown as a laundress in the Famous Poets' House." Been there, done that, have the shriveled hands to prove it.
Lots of excellent images in this one. Nice work all round.
TALON said…
"But they were damp and peevish,
Making more smoke than fire." -- those lines are brilliant, Shay.

Loved the poem. (and I love the old poets, peevish damp fools that they were).
moondustwriter said…
Ha - I need kindling!!!

oh Shay you you always have a way
with words!!!

The Moon is smiling tonite!!1
Cloudia said…
tour de force

Aloha from Waikiki :)

Comfort Spiral


You, my tiger-friend, will make it into the international house of famous poets. I feel sure of it. You can't write poems like these and not end up into the formidable house.
Very sincerely,
Lisa said…
Wahey!!! :D

love this bit: I stacked famous poets in my fireplace--
Feet to foreheads,

nice. staying tuned...
Steve Isaak said…
Jarringly original images/references/all that in this poem. One of the three truly original poems I've read in this week's batch.
Anonymous said…
Whether this is a metaphorical attempt to liberate poetry from the stranglehold of the (male) poet celebs, or a happy dadaist assault on poetry itself, I don't know, but I love the declamatory 'call-to-arms' feel of it. A great read. Not laundress for much longer if you're circulating your stuff around the mags!
Carrie Van Horn said…
Shay everytime i visit your blog and read your wonderful words...i feel as if i have just been on a roller coaster ride, and then i want to ride again and again and again and again and again....
....just one more time?! :-)
You are no laundress....you are a words crafter with your own tools never seen before....keep on building Shay!! :-)
Suz said…
Oh I agree..you are a wonderful poet...loved this very much
Claudia said…
i love this shay
you always have the most creative ideas and write them into poetry
it's refreshing like a shower to read your poems
...and if you need some help with the "famous poems" - i'm in...smiles
Claudia said…
...meant famous poets of course..
Bubba said…
I hear you, Shay! Some poets are so arduous to read, droning on and on about whatever instead of just making their point and moving on.

(Milton comes to mind, with his roundabout verses careening wildly about before reaching their goal)

Of course, there's a flavor of poet for everyone, like Baskin Robbins' 31 flavors of ice cream, and anyone can find something to their liking. (Unless they're lactose intolerant)

I liked the 'rage on (at?) the page' quality at the end. Great One Shot!
mac said…
Don't go back sassin' Dylan Thomas :-P
dustus said…
As with the poets you have mentioned, I continue to be inspired by your work and its literary quality.
Dear Emily
Very beautifully written and I enjoyed it so much.. your words like 'Even my pulse is a secret, known only to my cat,
And to each fresh-struck hour of the night.' caught my attention. Thanks for sharing...

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
Twitter: @VerseEveryDay
Blog: http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com
Marshy said…
i have to laugh..every now and then i do a saturday celebration of poets from the past...some you like and some you dont...akin to taste...but some poets i am sure are only famous because they were able to use bigger words than others and thus cause an illusion of intelligence!!!! its kinda like who shouts loudest wins the argument but to the outsider looking in the one with the loudest voice is just a brute...got me on this one...cheers pete
Caty said…
you never fail to make me laugh!
Maude Lynn said…
"damp and peevish,
Making more smoke than fire."