A Poem By David Lehman

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

On the Beautiful and Sublime

Knowledge is beautiful; understanding is sublime. — Kant


Radio is a hot medium;
Television, a cool one.

A train ride in Russia is a novel.
A train ride to Chicago is a movie.
A flight to Miami is a disaster movie.

A yew tree is a poem.
A banyan tree is the prose
of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

A woman’s undergarments (any epoch) are poetry.
A man’s undergarments (any epoch) are prose.

Panties (white, silk, high rise) are beautiful.
Jockstraps are sublime.

Paranoia is poetry.
Insomnia is prose.


Death by lethal injection is prose.
Death by hanging is infernal.
Death by firing squad is the noble sublime.

Homer is the tragic sublime.
Cigarettes are sublime, especially Camels and Luckies.

Cigars are sublime.
Pipes are beautiful.

The Song of Songs is beautiful,
Genesis and Job are sublime.

Isaiah is sublime. Samuel I and II are sublime.
Ruth is beautiful and sublime.
Wordsworth is sublime. Keats is sublime and beautiful.

Knowledge is beautiful,
Understanding is sublime.

David Lehman’s books of poetry include When a Woman Loves a Man and The Daily Mirror.

There’s more poetry. There’s so much more poetry that sometimes I have to take a deep breath and remind myself not to be jaded by just how much poetry there is. And where is all this poetry? Right here, in The Poetry Section’s archives.You may contact the editor at poems@theawl.com.