"Two Poems"
"Two Poems"
A weekly poem, read by the author.
March 8 2011 6:57 AM

"Two Poems"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Charles Simic read these poems. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.


Red Alarm Clock

"I want to sail down the Nile
At sunset
Before I die,"
You said once, Cleopatra.

The room, I recall,
Had a plank floor,
A narrow bed, and a window 
Facing a brick wall,

Plus a chair where I kept
A pint of bourbon,
The coffee cup we used as an ashtray,
And a red alarm clock.


Don't Name the Chickens

Let them peck in the yard
As they please
Or walk over to stand
By the edge of the road.

The rooster strutting about
Will keep an eye on them,
Till it's time for them
To step under a tree

And wait for the heat
To pass and the children
To return to their toys
Left lying in the dust.

For, come Sunday,
One of the chickens may lose its head 
And hang by its feet
From a peg in the barn.


Charles Simic's most recent book of poems, Master of Disguises, was published last fall.