Fairy Tale

Ron Padgett - 1942-
The little elf is dressed in a floppy cap
and he has a big rosy nose and flaring white eyebrows
with short legs and a jaunty step, though sometimes
he glides across an invisible pond with a bonfire glow on his cheeks:
it is northern Europe in the nineteenth century and people 
are strolling around Copenhagen in the late afternoon,
mostly townspeople on their way somewhere, 
perhaps to an early collation of smoked fish, rye bread, and cheese,
washed down with a dark beer: ha ha, I have eaten this excellent meal
and now I will smoke a little bit and sit back and stare down 
at the golden gleam of my watch fob against the coarse dark wool of my vest,
and I will smile with a hideous contentment, because I am an evil man, 
and tonight I will do something evil in this city!

More by Ron Padgett

Poet as Immortal Bird

A second ago my heart thump went
and I thought, "This would be a bad time
to have a heart attack and die, in the
middle of a poem," then took comfort
in the idea that no one I have ever heard 
of has ever died in the middle of writing 
a poem, just as birds never die in mid-flight.
I think.

Words from the Front

We don’t look as young
as we used to
except in the dim light
especially in 
the soft warmth of candlelight
when we say 	
in all sincerity
You’re so cute
and
You’re my cutie.
Imagine
two old people 
behaving like this.
It’s enough 
to make you happy.

Rialto

When my mother said Let’s go down to the Rialto
it never occurred to me that the name Rialto 

was odd or from anywhere else or meant anything
other than Rialto the theatre in my hometown 

like the Orpheum, whose name was only a phoneme
with no trace of the god of Poetry, though

later I would learn about him and about the bridge 
and realize that gods and bridges can fly invisibly 

across the ocean and change their shapes and land
in one’s hometown and go on living there

until it’s time to fly again and start all over 
as a perfectly clean phoneme in the heads
 
of the innocent and the open 
on their way to the Ritz.