Jan. 28, 2007

Forgets His Littleness

by Don Marquis

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Poem: "Forgets His Littleness" by Don Marquis, from The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel. © Penguin Books. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Forgets His Littleness

if all the bugs
in all the worlds
twixt earth and betelgoose
should sharpen up
their little strings
and turn their feelings loose
they soon would show
all human beans
in saturn
or mars
their relative significance
among the spinning stars
man is so proud
the haughty simp
so hard for to approach
and he looks down
with such an air
on spider
or roach
the supercilious silliness
of this poor wingless bird
is cosmically comical
and stellarly absurd
his scutellated occiput
has holes somewhere inside
and there no doubt
two pints or so
of scrambled brains reside
if all the bugs
of all the stars
should sting him on the dome
they might pierce through
that osseous rind
and find the brains at home
and in the convolutions lay
an egg with fancies fraught
germinating rapidly
might turn into a thought
might turn into the thought
that men
and insects are the same
both transient flecks
of starry dust
that out of nothing came
the planets are
what atoms are
and neither more nor less
man s feet have grown
so big that he
forgets his littleness
the things he thinks
are only things
that insects always knew
the things he does
are stunts that we
don t have to think to do
he spent a score
of centuries
in getting feeble wings
which we instinctively
with other trivial things
the day is coming
very soon
when man and all his race
must cast their silly
pride aside
and take the second place
i ll take the bugs
of all the stars
and tell them of my plan
and fling them with
their myriad stings
against the tyrant man
dear boss this outburst
is the result
of a personal insult
as so much verse always is
maybe you know how
that is yourself
i dropped into an irish
stew in a restaurant
the other evening
for a warm bath and a bite
to eat and a low browed
waiter plucked me out
and said to me
if you must eat i will
lead you to the
food i have especially prepared
for you and he took me
to the kitchen
and tried to make me
fill myself with
a poisonous concoction
known cynically as roach food
can you wonder
that my anger
against the whole human
race has blazed forth in
song when the revolution
comes i shall
do my best to save
you you have so many
points that are far
from being human

Literary and Historical Notes:

It's the birthday of the English novelist and critic David Lodge, (books by this author) born in London, England (1935). He's the author of The Picturegoers (1960), Ginger, You're Barmy (1962), and The British Museum is Falling Down (1970), and other comic novels, many of them set in the fictional town of Rummidge.

It's the birthday of the French novelist Colette, born Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, France (1873). She is best known as the author of Cheri (1920) and Gigi (1945).

It's the birthday of Jackson Pollock, (books by this author) born in Cody, Wyoming (1912). He is best known for his innovations in abstract impressionist painting. He was often called "Jack the Dripper" because of his radical painting style. He was deeply influenced by Pablo Picasso's work, and the work of surrealist painters, and this led Pollock to experiment with his painting.

It's the birthday of one of the most popular living religious writers in the world, Rick Warren, (books by this author) born in Redwood Valley, California (1954). He's the author of The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?, which has sold more than 25 million copies since it came out in 2003, making it the best-selling nonfiction hardcover in American history. He's one of the founders of the megachurch phenomenon. His church in Saddleback Valley, California has more than 20,000 members. He has given 90 percent of all the proceeds from The Purpose Driven Life to charity.

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