Treasure Island

Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Ape And I


Said a monkey unto me:
"How I'm glad I am not you!
See, I swing from tree to tree,
Something that you cannot do.
In gay greenery I drown;
Swift to skyey hights I scale:
As you watch me hang head down
Don't you wish you had a tail?

"Don't you wish that you could wear
In the place of stuffy clothes,
Just a silky coat of hair,
Never shoes to cramp your toes?
Never need to toil for bread,
Round you nuts and fruit and spice;
And with palm tuft for a bed
Happily to crack your lice?"

Said I: "You are right, maybe:
Witting naught of wordly woe,
Gloriously you are free,
And of death you nothing know.
Envying your monkey mind,
Innocent of blight and bale,
As I touch my bald behind
How I wish I had a tail!"

So in toils of trouble caught,
Oft I wonder with a sigh
If that blue-bummed ape is not
Happier than I?

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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