Friday, January 11, 2013

2 Poems by David Ray


After John Betjeman’s “In Westminster Cathedral”

Let me in this holy place
upon my padded knees
thank you, Lord, in this case,
for Victory, when you please.
My troops upon the distant sands
have nobly pursued the Muslim bands.

But I need much more support
for my latest surge, although
I know that You, God, are with us,
just testing our faith, as you know,
but the evil terrorists still hold out.
With due respect, Lord, you
allow too many of them to be born.

I must remind you, Lord, it is
your crusade as well as mine
and our pious Christian nation’s.
So please help us, I humbly plead,
with more concern for our Occupation.

It is in your hands and interest, Lord,
to bring about swift Victory, and I do
mean sooner and not later, lest I lose
my well-deserved Legacy.  I know,
Lord, that You mean well, but to
be frank, you have led us into holy hell.


“It’s time to let Napoleon’s penis rest in peace.”
                                                                        -- New York Times
Whether Ernest Hemingway told the truth
in his memoir A Movable Feast

is a matter of opinion, but he claimed that
one day after lunch with

his companion F. Scott Fitzgerald, whom
he often mocked, Scott asked

if Ernest would accompany him to
the toilet, where he took out

his penis and showed it to Ernest, asking
if it was abnormally small,

which was what Zelda had told him.
But Ernest replied that Zelda,

a castrator, was just trying to kill him.
Ernest took out his own penis so

that Scott could compare and see
that there was not a great

difference between them. But Scott
could not control his anxiety,

so Ernest told him that he looked
down at the wrong angle

and that he should go to the Louvre
and look at the naked statues,

no better endowed:  “Most people
would settle for them.”

“But I wanted you to tell me truly,”
Scott said.  So Ernest walked him

to the Louvre, but it took the Ritz Bar
to calm F. Scott Fitzgerald

and a taxi to get back home to Zelda.

David Ray is author of 23 books, including Hemingway: A Desperate Life (Whirlybird Press), When (Howling Dog Press) and After Tagore:  Poems Inspired by Tagore (Nirala Editions).  Music of Time: Selected & New Poems (Backwaters Press) offers selections from fifteen previous volumes, several of which received national awards.  The Endless Search (Soft Skull Press) is a memoir.  David co-founded Writers Against the Vietnam War with Robert Bly in 1966, and his activism continues to challenge.  An emeritus professor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he also edited New Letters and founded, with Judy Ray and Robert Stewart, New Letters On The Air, David now lives in Tucson and writes poetry, fiction, and essays. He can be reached at

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