By Lewis Carroll
The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright —
And this was odd, because it was The middle of the night.
The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done —
“It’s very rude of him,” she said,
“To come and spoil the fun.”
The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead —
There were no birds to fly.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
If this were only cleared away,’
They said, it would be grand!’
If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose,’ the Walrus said,
That they could get it clear?’
I doubt it,’ said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.
O Oysters, come and walk with us!’
The Walrus did beseech.
A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.’
The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head —
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.
But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat —
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn’t any feet.
Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more —
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.’
But wait a bit,’ the Oysters cried,
Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!’
No hurry!’ said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
A loaf of bread,’ the Walrus said,
Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed —
Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.’
But not on us!’ the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!’
The night is fine,’ the Walrus said.
Do you admire the view?
It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!’
The Carpenter said nothing but
Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf —
I’ve had to ask you twice!’
It seems a shame,’ the Walrus said,
To play them such a trick,
After we’ve brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!’
The Carpenter said nothing but
The butter’s spread too thick!’
I weep for you,’ the Walrus said:
I deeply sympathize.’
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
O Oysters,’ said the Carpenter,
You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none —
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.
The barista’s acne is torrential—
A perfect storm. Whatever potential
She has for beauty has been obscured
By the open wounds that resemble burns.
And yet, as I look closer, I can see
This young woman is quite pretty
Behind her mask. Her eyes are turquoise,
Not some common blue, and her alto voice
Belongs onstage or in the studio.
She makes my coffee and I want to know
Why, in this new age of dermatology,
She suffers this morbid case of acne.
Has she seen the infomercials about creams
And soaps that will make any face clean?
Where doctors and rock stars share laughter
At photos that show the before and after,
And if you want the cure, call this number?
This scarred woman forces me to remember
That my skin was nearly as pocked and razed.
I once counted forty-four zits on my face,
But I was rez-poor and health care was shitty.
I didn’t live in a first world city,
So why does this woman look like this?
She’s uninsured and untreated, I guess,
Like so many others, but her poverty
Has brutally tattooed her. I’m sorry,
But there’s nothing comforting I can say
To a Hester painted with a different “A.”
But, hell, maybe this woman would just scorn
My pretentious allusion to Hawthorne.
She might be an everyday sort of brave,
And possess no want or need to be saved,
Examined, and pitied by the likes of me,
A poet who pays, over tips, and flees.
But then I pause at the door and look back
To see the woman use a fingernail to attack
Her skin. She digs and digs at what wounds her,
Seeking clarity, but nothing will soothe her.
Estranged from the tribe that gives no protection,
What happens to the soul that hates its reflection?
By Rebecca Lindenberg
What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee;
What thou lov’st well is thy true heritage.
You’ll find labels describing what is gone:
an empress’s bones, a stolen painting
of a man in a feathered helmet
holding a flag-draped spear.
A vellum gospel, hidden somewhere long ago
forgotten, would have sat on that pedestal;
this glass cabinet could have kept the first
salts carried back from the Levant.
To help us comprehend the magnitude
of absence, huge rooms
lie empty of their wonders—the Colossus,
Babylon’s Hanging Gardens and
in this gallery, empty shelves enough to hold
all the scrolls of Alexandria.
My love, I’ve petitioned the curator
who has acquired an empty chest
representing all the poems you will
now never write. It will be kept with others
in the poet’s gallery. Next door,
a vacant room echoes with the spill
of jewels buried by a pirate who died
before disclosing their whereabouts.
I hope you don’t mind, but I have kept
a few of your pieces
for my private collection. I think
you know the ones I mean.
Rebecca Lindenberg, “In the Museum of Lost Objects” from Love, an Index.