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FURTHER READING
Poems by Barbara Hamby
Ode to Lil’ Kim in Florence
Poems about Sharks
Angel Shark
by Hailey Leithauser
Ants and Sharks
by Tomasz Rózycki
Ashore
by Ernest Hilbert
At Shark Reef Sanctuary
by Eva Alice Counsell
Beach Walk
by Henri Cole
Coffee and Oranges
by Joel Brouwer
Flying Fish: An Ode [excerpt]
by Charles Wharton Stork
Haunted Seas
by Cale Young Rice
I Wonder What It Feels Like to be Drowned?
by Robert Graves
In a Breath
by Carl Sandburg
Inheritance of Waterfalls and Sharks
by Martín Espada
Murray Dreaming
by Stephen Edgar
No Place Like Home
by Stephen Cushman
Plague of Dead Sharks
by Alan Dugan
Rome
by Brigit Pegeen Kelly
Seal Lullaby
by Rudyard Kipling
Sharks in the Rivers
by Ada Limón
Sharks' Teeth
by Kay Ryan
Shoal of Sharks
by Richard O'Connell
Song of the Paddlers [excerpt]
by Herman Melville
Submarine Mountains
by Cale Young Rice
Summer [excerpt]
by James Thomson
The Bluefish
by Isaac McLellan
The Maldive Shark
by Herman Melville
The Ripple Effect
by Jamey Dunham
The Sea is History
by Derek Walcott
The Shark
by Judith Beveridge
The Shark
by William Henry Venable
The Shark
by Isaac McLellan
The Shark
by Lord Alfred Douglas
The Shark's Parlor
by James Dickey
The Sharks
by Denise Levertov
The Sirens
by James Russell Lowell
The Steel Rippers
by Patricia Carlin
Tiger Shark
by Hailey Leithauser
Untitled [There, by the crescent moon, the shark]
by Shido
Upon Shark
by Robert Herrick
What To Do About Sharks
by Vivian Shipley
White Sales
by Allen Grossman
World Below the Brine
by Walt Whitman
Other Odes
Age
by Robert Creeley
America
by Robert Creeley
America
by Herman Melville
Flying Fish: An Ode [excerpt]
by Charles Wharton Stork
Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood
by William Wordsworth
Ode on My Episiotomy
by Kimberly Johnson
Ode on Periods
by Bernadette Mayer
Ode to a Nightingale
by John Keats
Ode to My Hands
by Tim Seibles
Ode to Spring
by Frederick Seidel
Ode to the Confederate Dead
by Allen Tate
The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket
by Robert Lowell
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Ode on Dictionaries

 
by Barbara Hamby

A-bomb is how it begins with a big bang on page
one, a calculator of sorts whose centrifuge
begets bedouin, bamboozle, breakdance, and berserk,
one of my mother's favorite words, hard knock
clerk of clichés that she is, at the moment going ape
the current rave in the fundamentalist landscape
disguised as her brain, a rococo lexicon
of Deuteronomy, Job, gossip, spritz, and neocon
ephemera all wrapped up in a pop burrito
of movie star shenanigans, like a stray Cheeto
found in your pocket the day after you finish the bag,
tastier than any oyster and champagne fueled fugue
gastronomique you have been pursuing in France
for the past four months. This 82-year-old's rants
have taken their place with the dictionary I bought
in the fourth grade, with so many gorgeous words I thought
I'd never plumb its depths. Right the first time, little girl,
yet here I am still at it, trolling for pearls,
Japanese words vying with Bantu in a goulash
I eat daily, sometimes gagging, sometimes with relish,
kleptomaniac in the candy store of language,
slipping words in my pockets like a non-smudge
lipstick that smears with the first kiss. I'm the demented
lady with sixteen cats. Sure, the house stinks, but those damned
mice have skedaddled, though I kind of miss them, their cute
little faces, the whiskers, those adorable gray suits.
No, all beasts are welcome in my menagerie, ark
of inconsolable barks and meows, sharp-toothed shark,
OED of the deep ocean, sweet compendium
of candy bars—Butterfingers, Mounds, and M&Ms—
packed next to the tripe and gizzards, trim and tackle
of butchers and bakers, the painter's brush and spackle,
quarks and black holes of physicists' theory. I'm building
my own book as a mason makes a wall or a gelding
runs round the track—brick by brick, step by step, word by word,
jonquil by gerrymander, syllabub by greensward,
swordplay by snapdragon, a never-ending parade
with clowns and funambulists in my own mouth, homemade
treasure chest of tongue and teeth, the brain's roustabout, rough
unfurler of tents and trapezes, off-the-cuff
unruly troublemaker in the high church museum
of the world. O mouth—boondoggle, auditorium,
viper, gulag, gumbo pot on a steamy August
afternoon—what have you not given me? How I must
wear on you, my Samuel Johnson in a frock coat,
lexicographer of silly thoughts, billy goat,
X-rated pornographic smut factory, scarfer
of snacks, prissy smirker, late-night barfly,
you are the megaphone by which I bewitch the world
or don't as the case may be. O chittering squirrel,
ziplock sandwich bag, sound off, shut up, gather your words
into bouquets, folios, flocks of black and flaming birds.






From All-Night Lingo Tango by Barbara Hamby. Copyright © 2009 by Barbara Hamby. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.
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