Two Poems by Felicia Nimue Ackerman

The Waist Is Larger than the Belt

The waist is larger than the belt–
For put them side by side–
The one the other will exceed
With ease–it cannot hide–

The foot is wider than the shoe–
For try them inch by inch–
The one the other won’t fit in–
Without a mighty pinch–

The mouth is greater than the will–
For test them both with cake–
The one the other will subdue–
As anodyne quells ache–


A Narrow Fellow in the Glass 

A narrow fellow in the glass
Is what I yearn to see–
But much I must forgo, alas
To make a slimmer me. 

No cookies, brownies, cake, or pie–
I may become unstrung.
The pleasure healthful foods supply
Is zero at the tongue.


Both poems originally appeared in The Emily Dickinson International Society Bulletin




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

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.