Charles Simic’s The World Doesn’t End

Charles Simic’s Pulitzer prize winning collection The World Doesn’t End is largely composed of prose poems that often end almost as quickly as they begin, though you would be hardpressed to say how they got there. Simic’s musings, such as his comparison of Time to a lizard in sunlight, are thoughtful, highly imaginative, and sometimes as humorous as others are serious. His succinct sentences provide both concrete and abstract images, often intertwining the two to form some sort of middle ground in which the reader’s own imagination has to pull the trigger. Below are a few of my favorite poems from Charles Simic’s The World Doesn’t End:

Comedy of errors at an elegant downtown


The chair is really a table making fun  of itself.

The coat tree has just learned to tip waiters. A shoe

is served a plate of black caviar.

“My dear and most esteemed sir, ” says a pot-

ted palm to a mirror, “it is absolutely useless to

excite yourself.”


We were poor so I had to take the place of the

bait in the mousetrap. All alone in the cellar, I

could hear them pacing upstairs, tossing and turn-

ing in their beds. “These are dark and evil days,”

the mouse told me as he nibbled my ear. Years

passed. My mother wore a cat-fur collar which

she stroked until its sparks lit up the cellar.


O the great God of Theory, he’s just a pencil

stub, a chewed stub  with a worn eraser at the end

of a huge scribble.


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