Cold Blooded Creatures

By Elinor Wylie 1885–1928 Elinor Wylie
Man, the egregious egoist,
(In mystery the twig is bent,)
Imagines, by some mental twist,
That he alone is sentient

Of the intolerable load
Which on all living creatures lies,
Nor stoops to pity in the toad
The speechless sorrow of its eyes.

He asks no questions of the snake,
Nor plumbs the phosphorescent gloom
Where lidless fishes, broad awake,
Swim staring at a night-mare doom.

Elinor Wylie, “Cold Blooded Creatures” from Selected Works of Elinor Wylie, edited by Evelyn Helmick Hively (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 2005). Reprinted with the permission of The Kent State University Press.

Source: Selected Works of Elinor Wylie (Kent State University Press, 2005)

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Poet Elinor Wylie 1885–1928

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Nature, Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Animals

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Elinor  Wylie

Biography

Extravagantly praised in her lifetime, the poet and novelist Elinor Wylie suffered a posthumous reversal in her reputation but has experienced something of a revival of interest among feminist critics since the 1980s.

Wylie was born in Somerville, New Jersey to a socially prominent family, and grew up in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. As the daughter of a lawyer who later became solicitor general of the United . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Animals

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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