Covenant by Tennessee Williams
[the following is the first two stanzas of the three stanza poem]
If you are happy, I will give you an apple,
if you are anxious, I will twist your arm,
and if you permit me, I will be glad to hold you
close to my heart forever and do you no harm.
If I am happy, will you give me an apple?
If I am anxious, you may twist my arm.
And if you would like to, I would like you to hold me
close to your heart forever and do me no harm.
“Covenant” by Tennessee Williams
from Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams. New Directions, 2007.
Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams III (who was born in Mississippi March 26, 1911 and died in a New York hotel on February 25, 1983) wrote short stories, novels, poetry, essays, screenplays and a volume of memoirs, but is best known as the brilliant playwright of
Williams was awarded four Drama Critic Circle Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes and the Presidential Medal of Freedom and is today acknowledged as one of the most accomplished playwrights in the history of English speaking theater.
with thanks to Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac