General Editor: Marc R. Plamondon

Representative Poetry Online, edition 6.0, is a web anthology of 4,800 poems in English and French by over 700 poets spanning 1400 years.  more about RPO


A heartwarming gift for you on this cold Valentine’s Day: “Phyllis Loves Kelly,” 60 years of collected love poems from poet Phyllis Gotlieb to her husband, Kelly...



If all the World were Paper

1If all the world were paper,
2    And all the sea were ink;
3If all the trees were bread and cheese,
4    How should we do for drink?
5If all the world were sand'o,
6    Oh then what should we lack'o,
7If as they say there were no clay,
8    How should we take tobacco?
9If all our vessels ran'a,
10    If none but has a crack'a;
11If Spanish apes ate all the grapes,
12    How should we do for sack'a?
13If friars had no bald pates,
14    Nor nuns had no dark cloisters;
15If all the seas were beans and pease,
16    How should we do for oysters?
17If there had been no projects,
18    Nor none that did great wrongs;
19If fiddlers shall turn players all,
20    How should we do for songs?
21If all things were eternal,
22    And nothing their end bringing;
23If this should be, then how should we
24    Here make an end of singing?
 What thou lovest well remains,
                  the rest is dross
What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee
What thou lov'st well is thy true heritage
Whose world, or mine or theirs
                or is it of none?
First came the seen, then thus the palpable
    Elysium, though it were in the halls of hell,
What thou lovest well is thy true heritage
What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee
Ezra Pound Pisan Cantos, LXXXI