Mark Twain

(November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910 / Florida, Missouri)

Genius

Poem by Mark Twain

Genius, like gold and precious stones,
is chiefly prized because of its rarity.

Geniuses are people who dash of weird, wild,
incomprehensible poems with astonishing facility,
and get booming drunk and sleep in the gutter.

Genius elevates its possessor to ineffable spheres
far above the vulgar world and fills his soul
with regal contempt for the gross and sordid things of earth.

It is probably on account of this
that people who have genius
do not pay their board, as a general thing.

Geniuses are very singular.

If you see a young man who has frowsy hair
and distraught look, and affects eccentricity in dress,
you may set him down for a genius.

If he sings about the degeneracy of a world
which courts vulgar opulence
and neglects brains,
he is undoubtedly a genius.

If he is too proud to accept assistance,
and spurns it with a lordly air
at the very same time
that he knows he can't make a living to save his life,
he is most certainly a genius.

If he hangs on and sticks to poetry,
notwithstanding sawing wood comes handier to him,
he is a true genius.

If he throws away every opportunity in life
and crushes the affection and the patience of his friends
and then protests in sickly rhymes of his hard lot,
and finally persists,
in spite of the sound advice of persons who have got sense
but not any genius,
persists in going up some infamous back alley
dying in rags and dirt,
he is beyond all question a genius.

But above all things,
to deftly throw the incoherent ravings of insanity into verse
and then rush off and get booming drunk,
is the surest of all the different signs
of genius.


Comments about Genius by Mark Twain

  • Sandra Feldman (3/29/2020 11:38:00 PM)

    Love It!
    Will read it every day and thank our lucky stars for it!(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Sandra Feldman (3/29/2020 11:35:00 PM)

    1 After reading, never wanting to write poetry.
    2 Writing poetry but not agreeing with the negative aspect of being a genius.
    3 Being utterly astonished and agreeing that being a poet is the most extraordinarily, exciting
    experience a human being can have regardless of the possible destructive aspects.

    This is just an opinion, up to the reader to agree or disagree
    A poem of very long thought & reach! Also a passionate side of Mark Twain
    to discover.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Douglas Scotney (3/29/2020 8:59:00 PM)

    sounds like a genius has got no sense(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • paul amrod (3/29/2020 3:23:00 PM)

    I always thought he was talking about my favorite of another sort. Mr: Edgar Allan Poe!(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • paul amrod (3/29/2020 3:21:00 PM)

    I love this man's humor. He was a German American and full of wit and charm. Self-critical in a way which was totally amusing. I suggest all read his autobiography. This poem is a very good introduction to my one and only Mark Twain. Huckleberry Finn is my favorite.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (3/29/2020 11:04:00 AM)

    If he is too proud to accept assistance,
    and spurns it with a lordly air
    at the very same time
    that he knows he can't make a living to save his life,
    he is most certainly a genius. interesting and cynical.. tony(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (3/29/2020 7:04:00 AM)

    Genius, like gold and precious stones,
    is chiefly prized because of its rarity.......excellent beginning. It is a well executed poem by Mark Twain.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Alison MujatiAlison Mujati (3/29/2020 5:39:00 AM)

    Good poem i enjoyed reading it, you may like my new poem ' the blurred figure'(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Dominic Windram (3/29/2020 3:27:00 AM)

    Brilliant satirical poem about ' genius' courtesy of Mark Twain.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Aniruddha PathakAniruddha Pathak (3/29/2020 1:27:00 AM)

    A genius defining genius, then one has to sit up and take notice,
    a genius is described here in a unique way.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (1/31/2020 12:34:00 AM)

    If he hangs on and sticks to poetry,
    notwithstanding sawing wood comes handier to him,
    he is a true genius..../// beautiful poetic writings(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Britte NinadBritte Ninad (1/30/2020 9:22:00 PM)

    genius writings................................///(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Me Poet Yeps PoetMe Poet Yeps Poet (12/13/2019 12:19:00 AM)

    But above all things,
    to deftly throw the incoherent ravings of insanity into verse
    and then rush off and get booming drunk,
    is the surest of all the different signs
    of genius.
    just excellent what a GENIUS(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Chinedu DikeChinedu Dike (8/28/2019 11:42:00 AM)

    Well articulated and nicely brought forth with conviction. An insightful piece of poetry. Thanks for sharing.........(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Douglas Scotney (3/29/2019 9:25:00 PM)

    still not dead Mark? .......(Report)Reply

    Sandra(3/29/2020 11:45:00 PM)

    Greatness and Genius, which Twain is
    can't be killed, cannot die!

    Mark Twain(5/16/2019 6:18:00 PM)

    Nope, Still going strong.

    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Anil Kumar PandaAnil Kumar Panda (3/29/2019 10:28:00 AM)

    A classic poem from a great poet. Enjoyed thoroughly the way he penned down the characteristics of a genius.Loved it.10++++++++(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Ranjyson (3/29/2019 8:15:00 AM)

    THINK ABOUT IT…..
    -I freelance over the internet and earn about 90-95$ an hour. I was without a job for 6 months but last month my paycheck with big fat bonus was $18000 just working on my computer from my home for 4-5 hours. Here's what i have been doing...

    ►►►►►►►► http: //www.Geosalary.com(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Harley WhiteHarley White (3/29/2019 6:12:00 AM)

    Ah, Mark Twain, love it! But there is a typo in the second stanza. It should be 'dash off' (not of) .(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Castellenas JohnCastellenas John (3/29/2019 5:35:00 AM)

    Wonderful words by the amazing writer.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Sy WongSy Wong (3/29/2019 2:13:00 AM)

    I would like a genius who restrain.
    I would like his way as long as he is not fake.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
Read all 58 comments »

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Poem Edited: Wednesday, November 30, 2011