Edmund Vance Cooke
An ancient ape, once on a time,
Disliked exceedingly to climb,
And so he picked him out a tree
And said, 'now this belongs to me.
I have a hunch that monks are mutts
And I can make them gather nuts
And bring the bulk of them to me,
By claiming title to this tree.'
He took a green leaf and a reed
And wrote himself a title deed,
Proclaiming pompously and slow;
'All monkeys by these presents know.' -
Next morning when the monkeys came
To gather nuts, he made his claim:
'All monkeys climbing on this tree
Must bring their gathered nuts to me,
Cracking the same on equal shares;
The meats are mine, the shells are theirs.'
'By what right? 'they cried, amazed,
Thinking the ape was surely grazes.
'By this,' he answered: 'if you'll read
You'll find it is a title deed,
Made in precise and formal shape
And sworn before a fellow ape,
Exactly on the legal plan
Used by that wondrous creature, man,
In London, Tokyo, New York,
Glengarry, Kalamazoo and Cork.
Unless my deed is recognized,
It proves you quite uncivilized.'
'But,' said one monkey, 'you'll agree
It was not you who made this tree.'
'Nor,' said the ape, serene and bland,
'Does any owner make his land,
Yet all of its hereditaments
Are his and figure in the rents.'
The puzzled monkeys sat about;
They could not make the question out.
Plainly, by precedent and law,
The ape's procedure shows no flaw;
And yet, no matter what he said,
The stomach still denied the head.
Up spoke one sprightly monkey then;
'Monkeys are monkeys, men are men;
The ape should try his legal capers
On men who may respect his papers.
We don't know deeds; we do know nuts,
And spite of 'ifs' and 'ands' and 'buts,'
We know who gathers and unmeats 'em,
By monkey practice also eats 'em,
So tell the ape and all his flunkies
No man tricks can be played on monkeys.'
Thus, apes still climb to get their food,
Since monkeys minds are crass and crude,
And monkeys, all so ill-advised,
Still eat their nuts, uncivilized.
Edmund Vance Cooke's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Civilized by Edmund Vance Cooke )
- Shadow Chase, Tirupathi Chandrupatla
- Love and True love, Tilde Sauffaus
- On - that note, sEaN nOrTh
- In The Quiet Of The Night, Clive Blake
- PH: Nature: Canoeing the Mississippi #8, Brian Johnston
- Old Drunk's Advice to an Anxious Beau, Donal Mahoney
- TWAILE! ! !, G. AKANJI OLANIYI
- Mother, Tamara Dunn
- Autumn, Mark Hamilton
- J.Bast, I try your face... - translation.., Lyudmila Purgina
Poem of the Day
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- No Man Is An Island, John Donne
- And Death Shall Have No Dominion, Dylan Thomas
- A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(22 August 1893 - 7 June 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
- Heather Burns