Published on Academy of American Poets (

I Am! Said the Lamb [excerpt]

The Donkey

I had a Donkey, that was all right,
But he always wanted to fly my Kite;
Every time I let him, the String would bust.
Your Donkey is better behaved, I trust.

The Ceiling

Suppose the Ceiling went Outside
And then caught Cold and Up and Died?
The only Thing we'd have for Proof
That he was Gone, would be the Roof;
I think it would be Most Revealing
To find out how the Ceiling's Feeling.

The Chair

A funny thing about a Chair:
You hardly ever think it's there.
To know a Chair is really it,
You sometimes have to go and sit.

The Hippo

A Head or Tail—which does he lack?
I think his Forward's coming back!
He lives on Carrots, Leeks and Hay;
He starts to yawn—it takes All Day—

Some time I think I'll live that way.

The Lizard

The Time to Tickle a Lizard,
Is Before, or Right After, a Blizzard.
Now the place to begin
Is just under his Chin,—
And here's more Advice:
Don't Poke more than Twice
At an Intimate Place like his Gizzard.


"The Donkey", copyright © 1961 by Theodore Roethke. "The Ceiling", © 1950 by Theodore Roethke. "The Chair", copyright © 1950 by Theodore Roethke. "The Hippo", copyright © 1961 by Theodore Roethke. "The Lizard", copyright © 1961 by Theodore Roethke. From The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke by Theodore Roethke. Used by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. For online information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet website at


Theodore Roethke

Theodore Roethke, born in in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1908, received the Pulizter Prize in 1954 for The Waking.

Date Published: 1961-01-01

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