The Old Man to the Lizard

By Archibald MacLeish

Lizard, lover of heat, of high
Noon, of the hot stone, the golden
Sun in your unblinking eye—
And they say you are old, lizard, older than

Rocks you run on with those delicate
Fishbone fingers, skittering over
Ovens even cricket in his shell
Could never sing in—tell me, lover of

Sun, lover of noon, lizard,
is it because the sun is gold with
Flame you love it so? Or is
Your love because your blood is cold?


Archibald MacLeish, from Collected Poems 1917–1982, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1985.