Poem for May

Animalsby Frank O’Hara

Have you forgotten what we were like then
when we were still first rate
and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth

it’s no use worrying about Time
but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves
and turned some sharp corners

the whole pasture looked like our meal
we didn’t need speedometers
we could manage cocktails out of ice and water

I wouldn’t want to be faster
or greener than now if you were with me O you
were the best of all my days

Frank O’Hara was born in Baltimore in 1926 and became a leading member of the school referred to as the New York Poets that included John Ashbery and flourished in post-war Manhattan. A contemporary of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, paintings feature significantly in his poems. He was a prolific writer famous for being able to compose anywhere including in the midst of conversations at parties. He died after being struck by a jeep following a beach party in the early hours of Sunday 24th July 1966.

Chosen by David Underdown