Personal note: There are some wonderful poems that do the same thing for the ear and brain that Escher's images do for the eye and brain -- they twist things around till you're not exactly sure what is going on. This is a good example, as are One Day While Walking on the Stair and Eletelephony.


The Twins
Henry Sambrooke Leigh

See also the printable, pocketable PDF
and the vocal presentation
(back to Poetry)

In form and feature, face and limb,
      I grew so like my brother,
That folks got taking me for him,
      And each for one another.
It puzzled all our kith and kin,
      It reached a fearful pitch,
For one of us was born a twin,
      Yet not a soul knew which.

One day, to make the matter worse,
      Before our names were fixed,
As we were being washed by nurse,
      We got completely mixed;
And thus, you see, by fate's decree,
      Or rather, nurse's whim,
My brother John got christened me,
      And I got christened him.

This fatal likeness even dogged
      My footsteps when at school,
And I was always getting flogged
      For John turned out a fool.
I put this question, fruitlessly,
      To everyone I knew,
"What WOULD you do, if you were me,
      To prove that you were YOU?"

Our close resemblance turned the tide
      Of my domestic life,
For somehow, my intended bride
      Became my brother's wife.
In fact, year after year the same
      Absurd mistakes went on,
And when I died, the neighbors came
      And buried brother John.