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Richard Wilbur’s Words Inside of Words
{A Bumbershoot Very Special Feature}

Words Inside of Words For Children and Others

are acrobats who dare
To walk on tightropes high up in the air,
While we look up at them, enthralled and thrilled,
And hope that they won’t tumble and be killed.
In what they do, I’m sure there’s lots of fun,
So long as they remember how it’s done.

In a flower bed, the ranks of bright-faced plants
Look like a choir that’s singing hymns and chants
And psalms and Christmas carols. That’s how come
We find an anthem in chrysanthemum.

When faced with anything I loathe and fear,
I try to grit my teeth and persevere.
But there’s one gritty thing I just can’t stand
A sandwich that is halfway full of sand.

There seems to be a camel in Camelot.
Does it belong there? Absolutely not.
Wouldn’t Sir Launcelot have been a chump
To ride some desert animal with a hump?
King Arthur’s knights went forth to do their deeds
Mounted exclusively on Trusty Steeds.

When a cool gust comes in August, people cheer,
Because that month’s the muggiest of the year.

The eland is an antelope whose horns
Are twisty-looking like the unicorn’s.
He’s found in Africa, and in Ireland, too,
Where he has quarters at the Dublin zoo.

Another antelope, the gnu, is found
Inside a pignut. Falling to the ground,
The pignut opens, and out pops the gnu.
I don’t believe a word of it, do you?

When man first made a wheel, and built a cart,
He drove too speedily from the very start;
And ever since, in buggy, bike, or car,
Most people like to go too fast by far,
With windblown hair, and many a scream and squeal.
That’s why there is a whee in every wheel.