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Short poem

Phyllis Gotlieb (1926-)

First Person Demonstrative

              1I'd rather
              2heave half a brick than say
              3I love you, though I do
              4I'd rather
              5crawl in a hole than call you
              6darling, though you are
              7I'd rather
              8wrench off an arm than hug you though
              9it's what I long to do
            10I'd rather
            11gather a posy of poison ivy than
            12ask if you love me

            13so if my
            14hair doesn't stand on end it's because
            15I never tease it
            16and if my
            17heart isn't in my mouth it's because
            18it knows its place
            19and if I
            20don't take a bite of your ear it's because
            21gristle gripes my guts
            22and if you
            23miss the message better get new
            24glasses and read it twice


1] Demonstrative persons in English are "this," "these," "that," and "those." They are all third-person. It is not possible to have a grammatical first-person demonstrative in English, although being demonstrative to the "first person" in one's life is something else.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Copyright 2002 Red Blood Black Ink White Paper Exile Editions
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): 92-93.
First publication date: 1969
Publication date note: Ordinary Moving (1969).
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2003/1/11

Rhyme: unrhyming
Form note: Two twelve-line stanzas with initial and internal refrain.

Other poems by Phyllis Gotlieb