Phyllis Gotlieb (1926-)
A Catful of Buttermilk
it 's a bird, it 's a plane, it 's a
pain in the neck, it 's a thorn
in the flesh, it 's
A CATFUL OF BUTTERMILK
1nothing, a family saying, like for
2enough is enough, enough already! yoysher!
3a bellyful, something turning queasy, storm
4brewing, gorge rising, that 's when
5you say enough is a
6catful of buttermilk
7when you 've got a spirit
8ache like an ague
9of the bones, when the sky
10pushes down like the
11lid of a garbage-can and all
12words ring down a fall of
13lead nickels, the old
14gnaw their gums and blink and the
15wind is a wolves' bite in the thigh
16the hue and cry out at the graves
17of the unnumbered
18dead riding in their careers
19in turn howling a hollow
20tolling from hell
21 can we
22crawl down to the cat from here
23and the buttermilk?
24Prince, President, Prime
25minister, Premier, Potentate,
26Pontifex, Pasha, Panjandrum & Pooh-bah, ah
27the hell with it, it 's a
28catful of buttermilk
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Copyright The Works: Collected Poems of Phyllis Gotlieb Calliope Press 1978
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services,
University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: Phyllis Gotlieb, The Works: Collected Poems (Toronto: Calliope Press, 1978): 73-74.
First publication date:
Publication date note: Ordinary, Moving (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1969).
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2002/11/3
Other poems by Phyllis Gotlieb