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Collected Poems

Ernest Noyes Brookings

Category: poetry

ISBN: 978-1-911052-00-5
Dimensions: 198 × 129 mm
Extent: 240 pp.
Publication date: January 2016


‘His influence is and will continue to be far-reaching’ – Michael Stipe


Every now and then – but rarely – there emerges a poet so startlingly original and unlike any other that they seem to have evolved in isolation on some island of their own, far from the literary mainland. Ernest Noyes Brookings is one such poet.

Brookings is the ultimate late starter: never having written poetry before, he began in his eighties to produce verses on a daily basis, with a quiet intensity and single-mindedness, while resident at a nursing home in Massachusetts. In the seven years until his death in 1987, he produced around 300 poems on subjects such as power tools, blankets, white worms, after-dinner mints, Vermont in winter and the death penalty. The Golden Rule now presents all of the poems in a single volume. With a biographical memoir by David Greenberger (the man who first encouraged Brookings to write), an appreciation by Al Ackerman and an appendix describing Brookings’s unique writing process, this book commemorates a truly distinctive and wonderfully enjoyable writer.

Ernest Noyes Brookings was born in 1898 in Massachusetts. He served in the navy, attended MIT, and settled in Springfield, Vermont, where he worked as a designer of machine parts. He began writing poems in 1980, when he was a resident at the Duplex Nursing Home in Boston. He died in 1987.



Robot an automaton with the spirit of a horse
Who at scientific gatherings beams, has fun
Its voice is at times extremely husky, hoarse
But its eyes are brilliant like a sun


Generally all body joints are firmly attached
With never a creak or loud rent
But responds to silent outer control in fact
Stands around the area steel body bent


Reacts to a silent wave nuclear control
From steel body – “Put out that arc light”
Because with it reflecting our bodies not whole
Reacting to silent high tension wave bright


What’s that subject you’re thinking about?
It’s related to a no-man’s grave
Can a cat climb a high water spout?
An automatic robot does not need a shave


One robot to his automaton brother –
Any shingles inside your metal case
Regardless please don’t smother
God may guide you into outer space.

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