Saturday, January 8, 2011

"The Rabbit's Advice": Elizabeth Jennings

As a follow-up to Wallace Stevens's "A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts," and thinking once more of the upcoming Year of the Rabbit, here is a poem by Elizabeth Jennings.

                    The Rabbit's Advice

I have been away too long.
Some of you think I am only a nursery tale,
One which you've grown out of.
Or perhaps you saw a movie and laughed at my ears
But rather envied my carrot.
I must tell you that I exist.

I'm a puff of wool leaping across a field,
Quick to all noises,
Smelling my burrow of safety.
I am easily frightened.  A bird
Is tame compared to me.
Perhaps you have seen my fat white cousin who sits,
Constantly twitching his nose,
Behind bars in a hutch at the end of a garden.
If not, imagine those nights when you lie awake
Afraid to turn over, afraid
Of night and dawn and sleep.
Terror is what I am made
Of partly, partly of speed.

But I am a figure of fun.
I have no dignity
Which means I am never free.
So, when you are frightened or being teased, think of
My twitching whiskers, my absurd white puff of a tail,
Of all that I mean by 'me'
And my ludicrous craving for love.

Elizabeth Jennings, After the Ark (1978).

                                         Howard Phipps, "March Hare"


Mary F. C. Pratt said...

I found this blog while searching for Meredith's poem "In the Woods." I'm becoming a follower. Thank you.

Stephen Pentz said...

Mary F.C. Pratt: Thank you very much for visiting, and for your kind words. I'm delighted that you found your way here, and I hope that you will stop by often. Thanks again.

Susan said...

I think I have just found a way to comment on your blog. I have been enjoying it for several months, ever since I found it on Anecdotal Evidence. This is just a test run.

Stephen Pentz said...

Susan: Thank you very much for visiting, and for your kind words. Comments are always welcome!

serena said...

i just love this poem soooo much

Stephen Pentz said...

serena: thank you very much for visiting and commenting. I'm pleased that you like the poem.