Two Poems by Felicia Nimue Ackerman

You Are Old, Father William

(originally appeared in The Los Angeles Times)

“You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And the money’s become very tight;
And yet you’ll spend anything not to be dead–
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I figured that old folks should die;
But, now that I’m perfectly sure that I’m one,
I do not see a good reason why.”

“You are old,” said the son, “as I mentioned before.
So consider your grandson’s position,
Since the money that keeps you away from death’s door
Could be used for his college tuition.”

“I am old,” Father William replied in a yell,
“But I’ve not taken leave of my wits!
I should croak so young Willie can go to Cornell?
Be off, or I’ll blow you to bits!”


Envying My Cat

(originally appeared in The Providence Journal)

When Lili seeks affection,
She only has to purr.
She never meets rejection.
Why can’t I be like her?




Felicia Nimue Ackerman is a professor of philosophy at Brown University and has had about 200 poems published in a wide range of places.

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