Critical and biographical information on Henry Reed, World War II British poet, critic, translator, and radio dramatist — author of "Naming of Parts"
Henry Reed, poet and radio dramatist
The Poetry of Henry Reed Homepage
Goss, Raymond. "To Students Everywhere." Parody of Henry Reed. College Composition and Communication 26, no. 2 (May 1975): 148.

To Students Everywhere
(with apologies to Henry Reed)

Today we have naming of parts of speech. Yesterday
We had daily quizzes. And tomorrow morning,
We shall have what to do after grammar. But today,
Today we have naming of parts of speech. Dogwood
Glistens like rubies throughout the campus,
          And today we have parts of speech.

This is the noun clause. And this
Is the verb clause, whose use you will see
When you are given your topics. And this is the complete essay,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold on the campus their silent, eloquent gestures,
          Which in our case we have not got.

This is a ball point pen, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
          Any of them using their finger.

And this you see is the ink cartridge. The purpose of this
Is to emerge from within, as you can see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The men are assaulting and fumbling the women.
          They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the ink cartridge,
And the pen, and the button, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the dogwood blossom
Silent throughout the campus and the men going backwards and forwards,
          For today we have naming the parts of speech.

Virginia State College




Page last modified: 01 October 2016