Poetry Monday: Grooks by Piet Hein

What the heck is a Grook?  From the back of Grooks 1A grook is a short, aphoristic poem, accompanied by an appropriate drawing, revealing in a minimum of words and with a minimum of lines some basic truth about the human condition.

Piet Hein (December 16, 1905–April 17, 1996) was a scientist, inventor, and poet.  He began writing grooks as a form of resistance to the Nazis occupying his native Denmark.  Not all of his grooks are political, however.  Many express humor with a wink.

an admonitory grook addressed to youth

The human spirit sublimates
the impulses it thwarts;
a healthy sex life mitigates
the lust for other sports.

(The accompanying line drawing is of Adam and Eve reclining nude in a tree while below a large snake approaches with a soccer ball in its mouth.)

I found the four volumes I own 35 years ago in the bookstore where my boyfriend at the time worked.  It’s been a delight to rediscover them.


The lilacs are flowering, sweet and sublime,
with a perfume that goes to the head;
and lovers meander in prose and rhyme,
trying to say –
for the thousandth time –
what’s easier done than said.

Not an encouraging poem for a romance author!  🙂

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