Library of Congress

Poetry and Literature

The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature> Poet Laureate > Past Poet Laureate Projects > Poetry 180 > Full List of Poems > Poem 051
{ site_name: 'Poetry', subscribe_url:'/share/sites/library-of-congress/poetry.php' }

Back to Full List of 180 Poems

A Primer of the Daily Round

A peels an apple, while B kneels to God,
C telephones to D, who has a hand
On E's knee, F coughs, G turns up the sod
For H's grave, I do not understand
But J is bringing one clay pigeon down
While K brings down a nightstick on L's head,
And M takes mustard, N drives into town,
O goes to bed with P, and Q drops dead,
R lies to S, but happens to be heard
By T, who tells U not to fire V
For having to give W the word
That X is now deceiving Y with Z,
     Who happens just now to remember A
     Peeling an apple somewhere far away. 

—Howard Nemerov

From New and Selected Poems
University of Chicago Press, 1960

Copyright 1960 by Howard Nemerov.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Margaret Nemerov. Copyright 1960 by Howard Nemerov. For further permission information, contact Margaret Nemerov, 6970 Cornell Ave., St. Louis, MO 63130.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Howard Nemerov (1920-1991), born in New York City, served as a pilot for the Royal Canadian unit of the U.S. Army Air Corp. over the North Sea during World War II. He was a versatile writer, producing novels, short stories, plays and essays, in addition to his many volumes of poetry. In 1978, his "Collected Poems" won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He served as Distinguished Poet in Residence at Washington University in St. Louis from 1969 until his death..

Learn more about Howard Nemerov at The Poetry Foundation.