poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this Poem 

“The Fool’s Song” was published in The Tempers (Elkin Mathews, 1913). 

The Fool’s Song

I tried to put a bird in a cage.
                O fool that I am!
         For the bird was Truth.
Sing merrily, Truth: I tried to put
                 Truth in a cage!

And when I had the bird in the cage,
                 O fool that I am!
          Why, it broke my pretty cage.
Sing merrily, Truth: I tried to put
                  Truth in a cage!

And when the bird was flown from the cage,
                  O fool that I am!
            Why, I had nor bird nor cage.
Sing merrily, Truth: I tried to put
                   Truth in a cage!
             Heigh-ho! Truth in a cage.

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams

Poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright William Carlos Williams is often said to have been one of the principal poets of the Imagist movement.

by this poet

poem

Red cradle of the night, 
     In you 
          The dusky child 
Sleeps fast till his might 
   Shall be piled 
Sinew on sinew. 

Red cradle of the night, 
   The dusky child 
Sleeping sits upright. 
   Lo how 
                    The winds blow now!
   He pillows back; 
The winds are again mild. 

When he
poem
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
poem
I will teach you my townspeople
how to perform a funeral--
for you have it over a troop
of artists--
unless one should scour the world--
you have the ground sense necessary.

See! the hearse leads.
I begin with a design for a hearse.
For Christ's sake not black--
nor white either--and not polished!
Let it be