Thursday, November 17, 2005


Something I read recently, I can't remember what, reminded me of marmosets and my favorite poem with the word marmoset in it. (I must confess that it might have been an article about Paris Hilton being attacked by her pet kinkajou--yes, I know that a kinkajou and a marmoset have little in common, but whenever I read about exotic pets I get simultaneously disapproving and covetous--I would never have one--but I did learn some interesting facts about what it would take to have a kinkajou as a pet--12' x 12' x 6 would seem to do it, plus a heat source--and also that "Kinkajous are important pollinators - an ecological role which is filled by no other carnivore. Kinkajous' tongues are long (up to 6 inches or 20 cm) and flexible, and can be used to extract nectar from flowers. As the Kinkajou feeds, pollen adheres to its face and is subsequently deposited on other plants as the animal moves from blossom to blossom in the jungle canopy" [and the picture of the tongue is really amazing]).

Anyway, here's the Lovelace poem:, which isn't really about marmosets after all:


I cannot tell, who loves the skeleton
Of a poor marmoset; nought but boan, boan;
Give me a nakednesse, with her cloath's on.


Such, whose white-sattin upper coat of skin,
Cut upon velvet rich incarnadin,
Has yet a body (and of flesh) within.


Sure, it is meant good husbandry in men,
Who do incorporate with aery leane,
T' repair their sides, and get their ribb agen.


Hard hap unto that huntsman, that decrees
Fat joys for all his swet, when as he sees,
After his 'say, nought but his keepers fees.


Then, Love, I beg, when next thou tak'st thy bow,
Thy angry shafts, and dost heart-chasing go,
Passe RASCALL DEARE, strike me the largest doe.

Nice, eh?


  1. Have you read Clarice Lispector's story "Marmosets"? It's extraordinary, especially in the Elizabeth Bishop translation in Eyes of the Heart.

  2. No, I haven't, but I will certainly get it at once! Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. Also, we're 99.85% certain to be re-issuiing Sigrid Nunez's MITZ, whihc is a fictional biography of Leonard and Virgionia's Wollf's pet marmoset, inspirit by Woolf's rather unpopular FLUSH...