William Jay Smith
William Jay Smith, born in April 22nd, 1918, is an American poet. He was appointed the nineteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1968 to 1970. He was born in Winnfield, Louisiana. He was brought up at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, south of St. Louis. William Jay Smith received his A.B. and M.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, and went on with his studies at Columbia University, and Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. In 1947 Smith married the poet Barbara Howes, and they lived for a time in England and Italy. They had two sons, David Smith, and Gregory. They divorced in the mid-1960s. William Jay Smith was a poet in residence at Williams ... more »
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William Jay Smith Poems
All night the wind swept over the house And through our dream Swirling the snow up through the pines, Ruffling the white, ice-capped clapboards,
Look at him there in his stovepipe hat, His high-top shoes, and his handsome collar; Only my Daddy could look like that, And I love my Daddy like he loves his Dollar.
See how he dives From the rocks with a zoom! See how he darts Through his watery room
The World below the Window
The geraniums I left last night on the windowsill, To the best of my knowledge now, are out there still, And will be there as long as I think they will.
How rewarding to know Mr. Smith, Whose writings at random appear! Some think him a joy to be with While others do not, it is clear.
A silver-scaled Dragon with jaws flaming red Sits at my elbow and toasts my bread. I hand him fat slices, and then, one by one,
The Polar Bear never makes his bed; He sleeps on a cake of ice instead. He has no blanket, no quilt, no sheet
Touch the Air Softly
Now touch the air softly, step gently, one, two ... I'll love you 'til roses are robin's egg blue; I'll love you 'til gravel is eaten for bread, And lemons are orange, and lavender's red.
The Floor and the Ceiling
Winter and summer, whatever the weather, The Floor and the Ceiling were happy together In a quaint little house on the outskirts of town With the Floor looking up and the Ceiling looking down.
I think it must be very nice To stroll about upon the ice, Night and day, day and night, Wearing only black and white,
Of living creatures most I prize Black-spotted yellow Butterflies Sailing softly through the skies.
"Come," the Captain said. "let me show you how this place looks from the air." And I followed him to the monoplane, the little "cat" waiting at the end of the runway.
The Dachshund leads a quiet life Not far above the ground; He takes an elongated wife, They travel all around.
A Pavane for the Nursery
Now touch the air softly, Step gently. One, two… I'll love you till roses Are robin's-egg blue;
Comments about William Jay Smith
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
All night the wind swept over the house
And through our dream
Swirling the snow up through the pines,
Ruffling the white, ice-capped clapboards,
Rattling the windows,
Rustling around and below our bed
So that we rode
Over wild water
In a white ship breasting the waves.
We rode through the night
On green, marbled
Water, and, half-waking, watched
The white, eroded peaks of icebergs
Sail past our windows;
Rode out the night in that north country,
And awoke, the house buried in snow,
Perched on a
Chill promontory, a
In the ...