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Collected Poems

It's my Laugh or Yours

It's my Laugh or Yours

What sort of a laugh do you laugh?
Do you make a noise like a horse blowing into a bag of chaff?
Do you give vent to great mirthful gusts
Of the kind one associates perhaps with the poet Gray's animated busts?
Or do you titter
Like an Eskimo girl eating a banana fritter?
Does your laugh in any way suggest that something around 30 is your I.Q.?
If so I am afraid that I am not going to like you.

There are all sorts of laughs
And some of them sound like the whinnying of horse-mosquitoes and
others like the bellowing of bull-calfs.
Of all the distressing outward and visible
Signs that a man's feelings are risible,
Nothing so amply justifies the pulling of the trigger
As the snigger;
There are also the chuckle and the hoot;
Which of them is the more nauseating is a point that is moot.
Girls giggle and titter.
If you hear one doing it, walk up to her and hit her.

I like to be solemn
Whether I am writing a book or a newspaper column.
Almost any sort of laughter makes me writhe.
Life is real and life is earnest and it's very bad taste for anybody to
pretend that it is blithe.

I love fish.
Their heads are under water and they can't laugh even if they wish.