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
New poet: Émile Nelligan





I Love Corned Beef

1I LOVE corned beef -- I never knew
2How good the stuff COULD taste in stew!
3I love it WET, I love it DRY,
4I love it baked and called MEAT PIE.
6A hundred bucks I'd give -- in CASH
7To have a BARREL of such chow
8A-standing here before me now.
10I SNIFF and raise aloft my nose:
12Can hardly keep my place in LINE.
13I kick my heels and wildly yell:
15But GLADLY would I bear the heat
16If corned beef I could get to eat!"
17I love it HOT -- I love it COLD,
18Corned Willie never WILL grow old.
19I love it -- now PAUSE -- listen, friend:
20When to this war there comes an end
21And PEACE upon the earth shall reign,
22I'll hop a boat for HOME again.
23Then to a RESTAURANT I'll speed --
24No dainty MANNERS will I heed --
25But to the waiter I will cry:
26"Bring me -- well, make it corned beef PIE!
27And -- better bring some corned beef STEW,
28And corned beef COLD -- I'll take that, too.
29And -- now, don't think I'm CRAZY, man,
30But could you bring a corned beef CAN?
31And -- WAIT! -- I'm not through ORDERING yet --
32I want a SIRLOIN STEAK -- you BET,
33With hash browned SPUDS -- now, LISTEN, friend,
34I've got the CASH, you may depend --
35Right HERE it is -- let's see, I'll try --
36Oh, bring a piece of hot MINCE PIE
37And ALL this stuff that's printed here;
38My appetite is HUGE, I fear.
39Then, when he's filled my festive board
40With all these eats, I'll thank the Lord
41(For that's the PROPER thing to do),
42And then I'll take the corned beef STEW,
43The corned beef PIE and corned beef COLD,
44The corned beef CAN I'll then take hold
45And RAM the whole WORKS into it
46And say: "NOW, damn you, THERE you'll sit.
47You've haunted every DREAM I've had --
48You don't know what shame IS, egad!
50And watch me eat a REG'LAR meal!"


5] HASH: re-warmed, chopped-up pieces of meat, often served in gravy. Back to Line
9] "soupie": the call to come to eat (cited as "soupy," Oxford English Dictionary). Back to Line
11] corned Willie: corned goat-meat preserved in corn whiskey. Back to Line
14] William Tecumseh Sherman, a general in the Union (northern) army of the US civil war, in 1880 told young cadets of the M.A.A. (Master at Arms) that "war is hell." Back to Line
49] Bo: a friendly way of addressing someone (like "pal"), probably from "boy." Back to Line
 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