Ambrose Bierce

(24 June 1842 - 26 December 1913 / Horse Cave Creek, Ohio)

A Soaring Toad - Poem by Ambrose Bierce

So, Governor, you would not serve again
Although we'd all agree to pay you double.
You find it all is vanity and pain
One clump of clover in a field of stubble
One grain of pleasure in a peck of trouble.
'Tis sad, at your age, having to complain
Of disillusion; but the fault is whose
When pigmies stumble, wearing giants' shoes?

I humbly told you many moons ago
For high preferment you were all unfit.
A clumsy bear makes but a sorry show
Climbing a pole. Let him, judicious, sit
With dignity at bottom of his pit,
And none his awkwardness will ever know.
Some beasts look better, and feel better, too,
Seen from above; and so, I think, would you.

Why, you were mad! Did you suppose because
Our foolish system suffers foolish men
To climb to power, make, enforce the laws,
And, it is whispered, break them now and then,
We love the fellows and respect them when
We've stilled the volume of our loud hurrahs?
When folly blooms we trample it the more
For having fertilized it heretofore.

Behold yon laborer! His garb is mean,
His face is grimy, but who thinks to ask
The measure of his brains? 'Tis only seen
He's fitted for his honorable task,
And so delights the mind. But let him bask
In droll prosperity, absurdly clean
Is that the man whom we admired before?
Good Lord, how ignorant, and what a bore!

Better for you that thoughtless men had said
(Noting your fitness in the humbler sphere):
'Why don't they make him Governor?' instead
Of, 'Why the devil did they?' But I fear
My words on your inhospitable ear
Are wasted like a sermon to the dead.
Still, they may profit you if studied well:
You can't be taught to think, but may to spell.


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 29, 2012



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