Saturday, November 20, 2010
Classic Poetry - (Genius & Those Annual Bills - Mark Twain)
Genius, like gold and precious stones,
is chiefly prized because of its rarity.
Geniuses are people who dash of weird, wild,
incomprehensible poems with astonishing facility,
and get booming drunk and sleep in the gutter.
Genius elevates its possessor to ineffable spheres
far above the vulgar world and fills his soul
with regal contempt for the gross and sordid things of earth.
It is probably on account of this
that people who have genius
do not pay their board, as a general thing.
Geniuses are very singular.
If you see a young man who has frowsy hair
and distraught look, and affects eccentricity in dress,
you may set him down for a genius.
If he sings about the degeneracy of a world
which courts vulgar opulence
and neglects brains,
he is undoubtedly a genius.
If he is too proud to accept assistance,
and spurns it with a lordly air
at the very same time
that he knows he can't make a living to save his life,
he is most certainly a genius.
If he hangs on and sticks to poetry,
notwithstanding sawing wood comes handier to him,
he is a true genius.
If he throws away every opportunity in life
and crushes the affection and the patience of his friends
and then protests in sickly rhymes of his hard lot,
and finally persists,
in spite of the sound advice of persons who have got sense
but not any genius,
persists in going up some infamous back alley
dying in rags and dirt,
he is beyond all question a genius.
But above all things,
to deftly throw the incoherent ravings of insanity into verse
and then rush off and get booming drunk,
is the surest of all the different signs
~ Mark Twain
Those Annual Bills
These annual bills! these annual bills!
How many a song their discord trills
Of "truck" consumed, enjoyed, forgot,
Since I was skinned by last year's lot!
Those joyous beans are passed away;
Those onions blithe, O where are they?
Once loved, lost, mourned—now vexing ILLS
Your shades troop back in annual bills!
And so 'twill be when I'm aground
These yearly duns will still go round,
While other bards, with frantic quills,
Shall damn and damn these annual bills!
~ Mark Twain
(Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain 30 November 1835 - 21 April 1910)
So tell us honestly, did you realize or know that Mark Twain wrote poetry? Many people do not know he was a poet. They are to blinded by his other great works; Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. Do you like these two poems? I, as a poet love the last few lines in genius becuase it justifies my insanity lol. Please share any thoughts you have concerning this selection in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing your thoughts about these poems and Mark Twain. Do you have another poem you like by Mr Clemens? Please post a link to it in the comment section so we can read it too.
Poets United posts a classic poem once weekly. We want to do this to introduce classic poets and their poems to our members. It is also a way to display different styles, genres and approaches to poetry. Our intent is to further expand the world of poetry while educating ourselves.
If you have a classic poem or set of prose you are fond of please let us know by emailing it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org