By Carl Rakosi 1903–2004 Carl Rakosi
The ants came   
to investigate   
the dead
bull snake,   
at the viscera   
and hurried off   
with full mouths   
waving wild   

Moths alighted,   
beetles swarmed,   
flies buzzed
in the stomach.

Three crows   
tugged and tore   
and flew off
to their oak tree
with the skin.

In every house
men, women and children   
were chewing beef.

Who was it said
“The wonder of the world   
is its comprehensibility”?

Carl Rakosi, “Poem” from The Collected Poems of Carl Rakosi (Orono: The National Poetry Foundation, 1986). Copyright © 1986 by Carl Rakosi. Reprinted with the permission of Marilyn J. Kane.

Source: The Collected Poems of Carl Rakosi (National Poetry Foundation, 1986)

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Poet Carl Rakosi 1903–2004

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 Carl  Rakosi


The son of German Jewish parents, Carl Rakosi was born in Berlin in 1903, moving soon to Hungary following his parents’ separation in 1904. Immigrating with his father and stepmother to Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1910, he eventually graduated from the University of Wisconsin (where he edited the literary magazine) and later earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania. Rakosi’s involvement in the . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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