Archives for posts with tag: sardines

by Shel Silverstein

“I’m tired of eating just beans,” says I,
So I opened a can of sardines.
But they started to squeak,
“Hey, we’re tryin’ to sleep.
We were snuggled up tight
Till you let in the light.
You big silly sap, let us finish our nap.
Now close up the lid!”
So that’s what I did …
Will somebody please pass the beans?

“Sleeping Sardines” appears in Shel Silverstein‘s collection Where the Sidewalk Ends, available at

by Frank O’Hara

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,
for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
“Sit down and have a drink” he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. “You have SARDINES in it.”
“Yes, it needed something there.”
“Oh.” I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. “Where’s SARDINES?”
All that’s left is just
letters, “It was too much,” Mike says.
But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike’s painting, called SARDINES.

PAINTING: “Sardines” by Michael Goldberg (1955), Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, D.C.)