Saturday, November 13, 2010

Two Pithy Poems about Existence

(One I have liked since high school, and have been feeling more as I've gotten older; the other discovered in reading a sample translation once, much enjoyed, and never forgotten.)

A Man Said to the Universe
by Stephen Crane

A man said to the universe:
"Sir, I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."

by Polleke
(a character in Guus Kuijer's Polleke series)

When I see a cow,
Then I know that God exists.
But if I say so to the cow,
She starts to moo.


  1. I like them both. Very short and sweet, yet thought provoking. Nothing is as we expect, but we feel entitlement. Nice poems.

  2. I've carried around this ditty by ... oh, he's the guy who wrote the Uncle Remus books. Joel Chandler Harris, that's it!

    When you have a thing to say
    Say it! Don't take half the day.
    When you tale has little in it,
    Crowd the whole thing in a minute!
    Life is short, a fleeting vapor
    Don't you fill the whole blamed paper
    With a tale, which, in a pinch
    Could be cornered in an inch.
    Boil her down until she simmers,
    Polish her until she glimmers.

    Though I think he could have cut that poem by half and been fine with it.