Caviar to the General

Elinor Wylie

No one knows who said of Elinor Wylie thatĀ  “She was famous during her life almost as much for her ethereal beauty and personality as for her melodious, sensuous poetry.”

The picture above certainly bears testimony to her unusual beauty. As for her personality, she was a life-long lover of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Here’s a little tidbit I snipped fromĀ The Oxford Book of American Literary Anecdotes:


Pretty Words

Poets make pets of pretty, docile words:
I love smooth words, like gold-enamelled fish
Which circle slowly with a silken swish,
And tender ones, like downy-feathered birds:
Words shy and dappled, deep-eyed deer in herds,
Come to my hand, and playful if I wish,
Or purring softly at a silver dish,
Blue Persian kittens fed on cream and curds.

I love bright words, words up and singing early;
Words that are luminous in the dark, and sing;
Warm lazy words, white cattle under trees;
I love words opalescent, cool, and pearly,
Like midsummer moths, and honied words like bees,
Gilded and sticky, with a little sting.

by Elinor Wylie

Caviar to the general

Once by the Pacific

Robert Frost

The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God’s last Put out the Light was spoken.


The wrinkled face on the stamp, like old tree bark, reminds us that living is hard. The poem reminds us that there are powers beyond us. Yes, we live hard lives, each of us, and we become oppressed by a world that takes little account of our small frames. All of us become minuscule in the larger, viscous parade of Time, which marches over us whether we are factory workers (read: union members) or governors, whether we are beggars or kings.