Monday, November 20, 2023

"Left-Wife Goose" by Sharon Olds

Left-Wife Goose

Hoddley, Poddley, Puddles and Fogs,
Cats are to Marry the Poodle Dogs;
Cats in Blue Jackets and Dogs in Red Hats,
What Will Become of the Mice and Rats?
       Had a trust fund, had a thief in,
       Had a husband, could not keep him.
Fiddle-Dee-Dee, Fiddle-Dee-Dee,
The Fly Has Left the Humble-Bee.
They Went to the Court, and Unmarried Was She:
The Fly Has Left the Humble-Bee.
       Had a sow twin, had a reap twin,
       Had a husband, could not keep him.
In Marble Halls as White as Milk,
Lined with a Skin as Soft as Silk,
Within a Fountain Crystal-Clear,
A Golden Apple Doth Appear.
No Doors There Are to This Stronghold
Yet Robbers Break In and Steal the Gold.
       Had an egg cow, had a cream hen,
       Had a husband, could not keep him.
Formed Long Ago, Yet Made Today,
Employed While Others Sleep;
What Few Would Like to Give Away,
Nor Any Wish to Keep.
       Had a nap man, had a neap man,
       Had a flood man, could not keep him.
Ickle, Ockle, Blue Bockle,
Fishes in the Sea.
If You Want a Left Wife,
Please Choose Me.
       Had a safe of 4X sheepskin,
       Had a brook brother, could not keep him.
Inter, Mitzy, Titzy, Tool,
Ira, Dura, Dominee,
Oker, Poker, Dominocker,
Out Goes Me.
       Had a lamb, slung in keepskin,
       Had some ewe-milk, in it seethed him.
There Was an Old Woman Called Nothing-at-All,
Who Lived in a Dwelling Exceedingly Small;
A Man Stretched His Mouth to the Utmost Extent,
And Down at One Gulp House and Old Woman Went.
       Had a rich pen, had a cheap pen,
       Had a husband, could not keep him.
Put him in this nursery shell,
And here you keep him very well.

Source of the text – Sharon Olds, Stag’s Leap.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012, pages 34-35.

TJB: With the diction, doggerel, nonce-words, & rhythm of nursery rhyme, this poem enacts failed attempts to make sense of transience—life, marriage.

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