Following are selected poems which appeared in Yip Harburg's two volumes of

light verse, Rhymes for the Irreverent (1965) and At This Point in Rhyme (1976).

Both volumes will be reissued in early 2006 in one hardcover edition, published

by The Freedom from Religion Foundation.

 

ATHEIST

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree;

And only God who makes the tree
Also makes the fools like me.

But only fools like me, you see,
Can make a God, who makes a tree.
 


REPENT IN PLEASURE

A little secret sinning now and then,
Should not disturb the saintliest of men;
For when your life is spent, and sun has set,
It's easier to repent than to regret.
 


MUTUAL ADMIRATION

"Speaking of the Common Man," said Lincoln,
    "God must love him."
And the Common Man, he must love God--
He made so many of Him.
 


BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

God made the world in six days flat,
On the seventh, He said, "I'll rest,"
So He let the thing into orbit swing,
To give it a dry-run test.

A billion years went by, then He
Took a look at the whirling blob;
His spirits fell, as He shrugged, "Ah well,
It was only a six-day job."
 


COURTSHIP IN GREENWICH VILLAGE

Our days will be oh, so ecstatic,
Our nights will be oh, so exotic,
For I'm a neurotic erratic,
And you're an erratic erotic.
 


INSCRIPTION ON A LIPSTICK

Oh, innocent victims of Cupid,
Remember this terse little verse;
To let a fool kiss you is stupid,
To let a kiss fool you is worse.
 


IRREVERENT HEART

My heart is like the willow
That bends, but never breaks.
It sighs when summer jilts her,
It sings when April wakes.

So you, who come a-smiling
With summer in your eyes,
Think not that your beguiling
Will take me by surprise.

My heart's prepared for aching
The moment you take wing.
But not, my friend, for breaking
While there's another spring.

So share my summer pillow,
Don't spare my autumn aches;
My heart is like the willow
That bends, but never breaks.
 


MIRACLE

We're wise to prestidigitators,
We're hip to all theatrics,
We know how rabbits turn to doves
In all the magic hat tricks,
But how did Mary's manger
Turn into the posh St. Patrick's?
 


ADVERBS

WHERE and WHEN
    Are lost in space.
THERE and THEN
    Do not embrace.
So before we disappear
Come sweet NOW and kiss the HERE.
 


FAIL SAFE

It's a hundred billion dollars
    Every year at your expense,
For the Pentagon to gadget up
    Our national defense.
But it's comforting to know that
    In the up and coming war,
We'll be dying far more safely
    Than we ever died before.
 



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