Puzzled by all that e-i, e-i, o business
on Old McDonald’s Farm,
I once thought vowels were feed, like hay

or slop, and therefore the critters cried neigh
or moo, oink or baaa: they needed
to be fed. They came with consonants

like teeth, but vowels came from the man.
And when night fell, wild ones crept
around the barn to nab their share.

The famous wolf in silhouette against
the famous moon is howling back
his vowels in praise—it’s good to be

among the fed. The sadness
in his note is need: it’s hard to need,
he howls, but oh, to be well fed!

He believes his w, his l and f are mortal,
but his o grew from a seed
that fell once from the Moon.

I am, I know, just any old wolf
but I eat of the i, eternal,
and so I ah at the oo, which also is eternal.

I took in a t from the teat of my ma
but hunt the great farm for my e-i, o.



The sidewalk, Go here, this way!
       The tree, Not so fast.
But the leaf, falling, what’s it say?
Blink, and it’s over, you’ve fallen.
       Leach your color back,
ghost of the street, it was stolen.