Friday, July 08, 2011

UPON MY GOLDEN BACKBONE


Upon my golden backbone

I float like any cork,
That hasn't yet been washed ashore
Or swallowed by a shark.

I never seem to want to snarl
In jungles all day long–
I've been so much upon my back
My legs aren't very strong.

It's all because a Pelican
I didn't eat one day,
Decided to look after me
That I behave this way.

And so, while Other Tigers slink
From tree... to tree... to tree,
I lie upon my back and blink,
In Aqueous Ecstasy.


From Rhymes Without Reason, Verses and Drawings by Mervyn Peake, first published in 1944.

The poems from that volume are currently included in Mervyn Peake – Complete Nonsense

Poem and illustration: Estate of Mervyn Peake


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