“Nice contradiction between fact and fact
Will make the whole seem human, and exact.”
The Devil’s Advice to Storytellers; Robert Graves
A thousand voices
Of singing frogs take flight like
A flock of starlings.
I heard the gulls beneath the ice
Only when winter ended
When the furry frost had glassed
Then their cries ascended
I looked to the skies, expectant,
But not a speck did I see
And I knew the cries were not the cries
Of a flock that was flying free.
“Ice,” I said, “you speak like a bird,
And stream you speak like me.”
Said they, “If you gull folks they will be impressed,
But if you babble they’ll let you be.”
LITTLE BROWN BIRD
Wise little sparrow
Sing your nonsense songs
Full of meaning, silly.
Perched on a twig
Don’t give a fig
For the analysis of strangers
Who look at your song
Like staring at a pond
Which reflects the face of the starer
And hides the beauty
That lies beneath: sweet
Wells of marvellous truths
That flash and gleam like
Shoals of golden fishes.
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The Devilís Advice
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