February 03, 1992 12:00 PM

>FROM MORE OPPOSITES (HBJ, $12.95), A NEW VOLUME OF witty rhymes and Thurberesque drawings by Richard Wilbur, the two-time Pulitzer prize-winning poet:

“The opposite of hot, we know,/Is icy cold or ten below./Some other answers to the question/Are leaky buckets, indigestion,/E-minus, or a granny knot,/Since all those things are not so hot.”

“The opposite of tar is rat./If you don’t see the sense of that,/Just spell tar backwards, and you will./And there’s another reason still:/Though rats desert a sinking ship,/A tar, with stiffened upper lip,/Will man the bilge-pumps like a sport/And bring the vessel into port.”

“The opposite of sound? Well that’s/When someone’s ill, or wrong, or bats,/Or when some firm is deep in debt./Another answer’s what you get/By strumming cobwebs with a feather/Or banging powder puffs together.”

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