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Elizabeth Bishop

The pigs stuck out their little feet and snored.

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The whole shadow of Man is only as big as his hat.

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The armored cars of dreams, contrived to let us do so many a dangerous thing.

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The art of losing isn't hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

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What childishness is it that while there's breath of life in our bodies, we are determined to rush to see the sun the other way around?

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All my life I have lived and behaved very much like the sandpiper - just running down the edges of different countries and continents, 'looking for something'.

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To Be Written on the Mirror in Whitewash

I live only here, between your eyes and you,
But I live in your world. What do I do?
--Collect no interest--otherwise what I can;
Above all I am not that staring man.

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Sonnet (1979)

Caught -- the bubble
in the spirit level,
a creature divided;
and the compass needle
wobbling and wavering,
undecided.
Freed -- the broken
thermometer's mercury
running away;
and the rainbow-bird
from the narrow bevel
of the empty mirror,
flying wherever
it feels like, gay!

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Lullaby For the Cat

Minnow, go to sleep and dream,
Close your great big eyes;
Round your bed Events prepare
The pleasantest surprise.

Darling Minnow, drop that frown,
Just cooperate,
Not a kitten shall be drowned
In the Marxist State.

Joy and Love will both be yours,
Minnow, don't be glum.
Happy days are coming soon --
Sleep, and let them come...

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Casabianca

Love's the boy stood on the burning deck
trying to recite `The boy stood on
the burning deck.' Love's the son
stood stammering elocution
while the poor ship in flames went down.

Love's the obstinate boy, the ship,
even the swimming sailors, who
would like a schoolroom platform, too,
or an excuse to stay
on deck. And love's the burning boy.

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