I’d Go To All Of Them

Howard Nemerov (1920 – 1991)

“Write what you know. That should leave you with a lot of free time.

Howard Nemerov

Political Reflection

By Howard Nemerov

loquitur the sparrow in the Zoo

No bars are set too close, no mesh too fine
To keep me from the eagle and the lion,
Whom keepers feed that I may freely dine.
This goes to show that if you have the wit
To be small, common, cute, and live on shit,
Though the cage fret kings, you may make free with it.




We’ve a mad King, fools aplenty but no Dame Kind to intervene. The plot thickens.

On a brighter note, I love finding sonnet’s hiding in plain sight like Nemerov’s A Common Saw. I realize that for some traditionalists a sonnet must conform to a specific rhyming scheme, but everything else about the structure of this poem is a sonnet, and given the metaphors with Shakespeare’s King Lear, its apparent what Nemerov intended. A day after the election, I wish the same as Nemerov. Instead patience will have to suffice in place of salvation.


A Common Saw

by Howard Nemerov

Good king, that must approve the common saw,
Thou out of heaven’s benediction comest
To the warm sun!
                                       King Lear

Had God but made me a religious man
I’d have it made.  The suburb where I live
Affords an ample choice of synagogues
And seven different Christianities –

I’d go to all of them, to every one
In turn, continuous performances:
Confession and yarmulka, incense and candlelight,
High, low, and broad, reform and orthodox,

Allowing God no possible way out
But my salvation – save that God did not
Make me a religious man, but left me here,
From heaven’s blessing come to the warm sun,

Twined round the pinkie and pinned under the thumb
Of Dame Kind dear and beautiful and dumb.