Ambrose Bierce

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

Two Shows - Poem by Ambrose Bierce

The showman (blessing in a thousand shapes!)
Parades a 'School of Educated Apes!'
Small education's needed, I opine,
Or native wit, to make a monkey shine;
The brute exhibited has naught to do
But ape the larger apes who come to view
The hoodlum with his horrible grimace,
Long upper lip and furtive, shuffling pace,
Significant reminders of the time
When hunters, not policemen, made him climb;
The lady loafer with her draggling 'trail,'
That free translation of an ancient tail;
The sand-lot quadrumane in hairy suit,
Whose heels are thumbs perverted by the boot;
The painted actress throwing down the gage
To elder artists of the sylvan stage,
Proving that in the time of Noah's flood
Two ape-skins held her whole profession's blood;
The critic waiting, like a hungry pup,
To write the school-perhaps to eat it-up,
As chance or luck occasion may reveal
To earn a dollar or maraud a meal.
To view the school of apes these creatures go,
Unconscious that themselves are half the show.
These, if the simian his course but trim
To copy them as they have copied him,
Will call him 'educated.' Of a verity
There's much to learn by study of posterity.


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 29, 2012



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