by Shel Silverstein
I asked the zebra
Are you black with white stripes?
Or white with black stripes?
And the zebra asked me,
Or you good with bad habits?
Or are you bad with good habits?
Are you noisy with quiet times?
Or are you quiet with noisy times?
Are you happy with some sad days?
Or are you sad with some happy days?
Are you neat with some sloppy ways?
Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?
And on and on and on and on
And on and on he went.
I’ll never ask a zebra
“A true confession: I believe in a soluble fish.”
― Charles Simic, The Unemployed Fortune-Teller: Essays and Memoirs
Jardin des Plantes, Paris
By Rainer Maria Rilke
(translated by Len Krisak)
In Fragonard-reflections such as these,
one sees no more of true flamingo red
or white than if some messenger had said
about the image of his lover, “She’s
still soft with sleep.” For when they’ve walked green grass,
and stood together, lightly turned on pink
stalks—blooms in flower beds—they seem to think
themselves seductive; that their charms surpass
a Phryne’s . . . till they curl their necks to hide
pale eyes in softness all their own (inside,
there lie concealed both berry-red and black).
Then, through the bird-house: envy’s sudden scream.
But they have stretched the wings that were pinned back,
and stride, alone, into the world of dream.
“A bird is three things: Feathers, flight and song, And feathers are the least of these.”
— Marjorie Allen Seiffert
The modest Rose puts forth a thorn,
The humble sheep a threat’ning horn:
While the Lily white shall in love delight,
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.
“Flowers are the music of the ground. From earth’s lips spoken without sound” – Edwin Curran
“The steady buzzzzzzz of the Katydid chorus,
the bass solo of the croaking Frog,
the steady woof-woof-woof a barking Dog –
a summer night’s serenade.”
– Michael P. Garofalo