Oliver Wendell Holmes

(1809-1894 / United States)

A Parody on “A Psalm of Life”


Life is real, life is earnest,
And the shell is not its pen –
“Egg thou art, and egg remainest”
Was not spoken of the hen.

Art is long and Time is fleeting,
Be our bills then sharpened well,
And not like muffled drums be beating
On the inside of the shell.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the great barnyard of life,
Be not like those lazy cattle!
Be a rooster in the strife!

Lives of roosters all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime,
And when roasted, leave behind us,
Hen tracks on the sands of time.

Hen tracks that perhaps another
Chicken drooping in the rain,
Some forlorn and henpecked brother,
When he sees, shall crow again.

Submitted: Saturday, May 24, 2003

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Comments about this poem (A Parody on “A Psalm of Life” by Oliver Wendell Holmes )

  • Freshman - 1,849 Points Kevin Patrick (11/29/2014 9:01:00 PM)

    Tis is a great parody, having read the Longfellow version, this is a really funny version of that beloved classic and a little biting in areas, it doesn't lampoon the original it simply homages it with comedy. Read this to bring a smile to you face. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 37,362 Points Aftab Alam Khursheed (11/29/2014 4:46:00 AM)

    This is a nice poem read in school- n the world’s broad field of battle, In the great barnyard of life, Be not like those lazy cattle! Be a rooster in the strife! thanks (Report) Reply

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