Over and Under

By William Jay Smith b. 1918
Bridges are for going over water,
Boats are for going over sea;
Dots are for going over dotted i’s,
And blankets are for going over me.

       Over and under,
           Over and under,
               Crack the whip,
                   And hear the thunder.

Divers are for going under water,
Seals are for going under sea;
Fish are for going under mermaids’ eyes,
And pillows are for going under me.

       Over and under,
           Over and under,
               Crack the whip,
                   And hear the thunder,
                       Crack-crack-crack,
                           Hear the crack of thunder!

William Jay Smith, "Over and Under" from Laughing Time: Collected Nonsense. Copyright © 1980 by William Jay Smith.  Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Source: Laughing Time: Collected Nonsense (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1980)

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Poet William Jay Smith b. 1918

Biography

William Jay Smith told Contemporary Authors: "I am a lyric poet, alert, I hope, as my friend Stanley Kunitz has pointed out, 'to the changing weathers of a landscape, the motions of the mind, the complications and surprises of the human comedy.' I believe that poetry should communicate: it is, by its very nature, complex, but its complexity should not prevent its making an immediate impact on the reader. Great poetry must have . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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