The dog’s out
and she won’t come back.
“You get back in
right now, you hear!”
It’s no use—
the dog’s out
and she won’t come back.
It ain’t no use!

I wrote the bit of japery I called “Despondy” on Jan. 31, 1979, in my delight at discovering a perfectly natural sequence of four spondees, which is to say eight consecutive stressed syllables, in English (“You get back in right now, you hear!”). Having dug up the manuscript, I thought I’d share. If you enjoy rhythmic games, you’ll like it. If you’re looking for the sublime, it ain’t here.


  1. 🙂 That’s pretty wonderful.

  2. ‘Course it ain’t no use. You better be polite with them girls.

  3. Margaret S. says

    Thank you for posting this. Thank you for having written this.

  4. I like this a lot.
    But what I came here to say is — I just posted my translation of Gumilev’s Giraffe on my blog, and in order to give a tiny bit of background embarked on a Google search for other translations and found yours. (I read LH on and off — lately more off than on, unfortunately.) I believe the correct turn of phrase here is “great minds think alike.” (Ahem!)

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