—M. H. Abrams (General Editor, The Norton Anthology of English Literature),
on Keats’s erroneous assertion that Cortez discovered the Pacific
Although I’ve switched kin and ken
on occasion, taken Mondays
for Tuesdays, moved convenience stores
from one intersection to
the next, changed dolls
to inflatable dummies, even
-father for -mother, I’d still like to think
certain matters deserve respect.
Making love or money,
taking a shower or a shellacking,
feeling the rapture
or the rupture,
all make a difference.
Gentle Balboa broke ass, not donkey,
humping to Darien—only to have his head
handed to him, like poetic justice.
What a pity his name should be writ
in water—as stout Coleridge
so memorably never put it.
This poem first appeared in Cumberland Poetry Review.
Used with the author's permission.