The bones are not possessed of that crude vigor
That has distinguished bones of greater valor.
In winter, when the air is harsh and caller,
They flinch from its inhospitable rigor –
Not like the bones of cowboy, swift on trigger,
Crusader bones, or bones of Hospitaller,
Whose epidermis lacked this mournful pallor
Because their mesoderm was somewhat bigger
All right for men who, when they are dissected,
Turn out to be composed of iron and leather.
But, being insufficiently protected
Against the circumambient wind and weather,
These lazy bones are easily dejected.
I often wonder how they hold together.
Published in The New Yorker. January 12, 1952.