Translations from the English

By George Starbuck 1931–1996 George Starbuck

for Arthur Freeman

Pigfoot (with Aces Under) Passes

The heat’s on the hooker.   
Drop’s on the lam.
Cops got Booker.
Who give a damn?

The Kid’s been had   
But not me yet.
Dad’s in his pad.   
No sweat.

Margaret Are You Drug

Cool it Mag.
Sure it’s a drag
With all that green flaked out.
Next thing you know they’ll be changing the color of bread.

But look, Chick,   
Why panic?
Sevennyeighty years, we’ll all be dead.

Roll with it, Kid.   
I did.
Give it the old benefit of the doubt.

I mean leaves   
You sure you aint just feeling sorry for yourself?


Lamb, what makes you tick?
You got a wind-up, a Battery-Powered,   
A flywheel, a plug-in, or what?
You made out of real Reelfur?
You fall out the window you bust?   
You shrink? Turn into a No-No?
Zip open and have pups?

I bet you better than that.
I bet you put out by some other outfit.
I bet you don’t do nothin.   
I bet you somethin to eat.

Daddy Gander’s New Found Runes

Rain, rain, grow the hay.
Grow the weeds another day.   
If I die before I wake,
Skip it.

Little Boy Blue come blow.
   Can’t Man; learning a new instrument.
What’s with the old one? Where’d you get the new one?   
   Found it in a haystack Man.

Old Mother Hubbard,   
Decently covered,
Went to her final reward.

She had to laugh.   
Manger was half   
Empty and half kennel.

Ol’ Shep. At it   
Again. Livin’ on   

I fired a missile up.
It came down maybe.
Maybe it stayed up.
Things aint much like they used to be.

George Starbuck, “Translations from the English” from The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades. Copyright © 2003 by University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa). Reprinted with the permission of The University of Alabama Press.

Source: The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades (2003)

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Poet George Starbuck 1931–1996

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 George  Starbuck


George Starbuck's songs of protest are usually concerned with love, war, and the spiritual temper of the times. John Holmes believes that "there hasn't been as much word excitement . . . for years," as one finds in Bone Thoughts. Harvey Shapiro points out that Starbuck's work is attractive because of its "witty, improvisational surface, slangy and familiar address, brilliant aural quality . . .," and adds that Starbuck may . . .

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SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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