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Gorgeous You United States (11/17/2004 10:24:00 AM)

Has it come to your attention how the race of man,
Has been climbing upward since time began.
How it's been climbing upward, and it's climbing there still,
But everytime you look at it, it's going downhill.

I'm looking for this poem, or the poet. Can anyone help? I think it's American,1920 to 1950s. Thanks!

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  • Rookie Sue Thom (8/23/2006 4:38:00 AM) Post reply
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    The title is 'Hi-Yo, Hi-Yo, Discernible Today, ' and it can be sung to the tune of 'Turkey in the Straw' (so it said in my high school sophomore lit book, Adventures in Appreciation,1968) . Here it is:
    This was also something in my High School English (Freeport, NY) class. I would search off and on with no luck. But this time! Written by the American playwright Maxwell Anderson and published in the May 8,1948 edition of The New Yorker magazine (pg 26) .

    found 8-23-06 at www.poetrylibrary.org.uk

    (A Song After Reading Toynbee)

    Has it come to your attention how the race of man
    Has been climbing upwards since time began,
    How it's been climbing steady, and it's climbing there still,
    But every time you notice it, it's going down hill?

    Going downhill is the natural way,
    For the old folks work and the young folks play,
    And the pioneer morals universally decay -
    Yet definite improvement is discernible today!
    Hi-yo, hi-yo, discernible today!

    Now there's been a quite demonstrable and healthy gain
    In higher mathematics and the size of the brain,
    Between us and the oyster there were great strides made -
    But every time you look at us, we're slipping down grade.

    Going downhill is the natural trend,
    For the old folks gather and the young folks spend,
    Yet line up all our forebears on the path that we descend
    And a definite improvement is apparent at this end!
    Hi-yo, hi-yo, apparent at this end!

    The Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Greeks and Romans, too,
    Hung up some fancy records when their world was new,
    And some they hung so high the boys are shooting at them still -
    But they saw themselves continually going down hill.

    Going downhill is the way things run,
    For the old have illusions and the young have fun,
    And our manners and religions everlastingly decay,
    Yet astonishing improvement is discernible today!
    Hi-yo, hi-yo, discernible today!

  • Rookie Sheila Beall (3/27/2005 5:23:00 PM) Post reply

    Did you ever find this poem? I've been looking for it for years. It was in one of my English Literature books in High School (in the 60s) .

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