The column of Saint Theodore of Amasea, in Venice. Teodoro is standing on a crocodile or dragon.

You might think I’m in competition with Studiolum, what with the crocodile and the bestiary.  His latest post at Poemas del Rio Wang is called Bestiary, and I recommend it to everyone, but I’m thinking of Kenneth Rexroth’s poem that Jamessal sent me today.  Here’s one verse:

Goat

G stands for goat and also
For genius. If you are one,
Learn from the other, for he
Combines domestication,
Venery, and independence.

Here is some more:

From A BESTIARY
for my daughters, Mary and Katherine

Lion
The lion is called the king
Of beasts. Nowadays there are
Almost as many lions
In cages as out of them.
If offered a crown, refuse.

Man
Someday, if you are lucky,
You’ll each have one for your own.
Try it before you pick it.
Some kinds are made of soybeans.
Give it lots to eat and sleep.
Treat it nicely and it will
Always do just what you want.

Raccoon
The raccoon wears a black mask,
And he washes everything
Before he eats it. If you
Give him a cube of sugar,
He’ll wash it away and weep.
Some of life’s sweetest pleasures
Can be enjoyed only if
You don’t mind a little dirt.
Here a false face won’t help you.

Trout
The trout is taken when he
Bites an artificial fly.
Confronted with fraud, keep your
Mouth shut and don’t volunteer.

Uncle Sam
Like the unicorn, Uncle
Sam is what is called a myth.
Plato wrote a book which is
An occult conspiracy
Of gentlemen pederasts.
In it he said ideas
Are more nobly real than
Reality, and that myths
Help keep people in their place.
Since you will never become,
Under any circumstances,
Gentlemen pederasts, you’d
Best leave there blood-soaked notions
To those who find them useful.

Vulture
St. Thomas Aquinas thought
That vultures were lesbians
And fertilized by the wind.
If you seek the facts of life,
Papist intellectuals
Can be very misleading.

You
Let Y stand for you who says,
“Very clever, but surely
These were not written for your
Children?” Let Y stand for yes.

I’m not sure where to find the complete poem except, as Jamessal says, in Rexroth’s Complete Poems.  Jim added “He’s not big on cat owners”, which certainly makes me want to find the whole thing.

Remember: If offered a crown, refuse.

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