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

  • (3/29/2019 9:25:00 PM)

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

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Anil 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

  • (3/29/2019 8:15:00 AM)

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    (Report) Reply

  • Harley 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

  • Castellenas John (3/29/2019 5:35:00 AM)

    Wonderful words by the amazing writer. (Report) Reply

  • Sy 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

  • (3/29/2019 1:32:00 AM)

    A great satire, full of humor and a glowing tribute to so called genius for traits displayed by genius which are not tune with practical life and sanity. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (3/29/2019 1:00:00 AM)

    If he hangs on and sticks to poetry,
    notwithstanding sawing wood comes handier to him,
    he is a true genius. Such a one sure is a genius!
    (Report) Reply

  • Robert M Smith (3/29/2019 12:40:00 AM)

    Great humour in this fright of a write. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (3/29/2019 12:35:00 AM)

    One of the top poems of Mark Twain......... (Report) Reply

  • (2/15/2019 11:07:00 AM)

    yeet that wheat then yeet that as neat as the last yeet for the yeet that is the most yeeted is the most praised. (Report) Reply

  • (5/27/2018 9:28:00 PM)

    Nice and good poem (Report) Reply

  • (5/22/2018 11:57:00 AM)

    Hi I wrote this and thanks for the compliments yyyyyyyyy (Report) Reply

  • (5/22/2018 11:57:00 AM)

    Hi I wrote this and thanks for the compliments (Report) Reply

  • Nudershada Cabanes (3/29/2018 10:20:00 PM)

    Mark Twain was a true genius of literature. (Report) Reply

  • Savita Tyagi (3/29/2018 7:49:00 PM)

    Hahaha it makes me feel real good! Such good humor and satire! (Report) Reply

  • Smoky Hoss (3/29/2018 3:45:00 PM)

    The last stanza is the real marker along the path, showing the way... (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (3/29/2018 2:57:00 PM)

    I have read the biting humor, the gentle humor, the rollicking humor, and the snarky humor in Mark Twain's short stories and his novels, now I get to read it in poetry. He is an American literary jewel- I wouldn't dare say an American literary genius after reading his expose of the species! (Report) Reply

  • (3/29/2018 2:47:00 PM)

    A satire. These sort of geniuses irked Mark Twain. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (3/29/2018 2:32:00 PM)

    Of all the different signs! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

Read all 43 comments »

# 373 poem on top 500 Poems

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Poem Edited: Wednesday, November 30, 2011


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