Monday, September 26, 2011

Imaginary garden with a new (old) toad

I've double-checked and re-double-checked, and Kerry of the writers' group Imaginary Garden with Real Toads says about this week's Calling all Toadswe invite members and visitors alike to share a poem, either old or new.

It says nothing there about original or wrote-it-myself, so I find I've simply got to share this very old, very delightful poem written in 1927 by the author and old newspaperman, Don Marquis.

I first read this poem in one of my favorite books: archy and mehitabel, in which authorship of the poem is attributed to archy, one of the title characters, a vers libre bard who died and whose soul transmigrated into the body of a cockroach.

If Don Marquis were alive today, he'd be 133 years old, according to the website dedicated to him, and, I believe, he'd still be writing.

For those of you who haven't already met this character, I would like to introduce someone I talk about more often than you might suspect: a toad I find myself wanting to talk about every time I visit Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. He might be an imaginary toad, but there is a very real lesson in here somewhere.

warty bliggens the toad

i met a toad
the other day by the name
of warty bliggens
he was sitting under
a toadstool
feeling contented
he explained that when the cosmos
was created
that toadstool was especially
planned for his personal
shelter from sun and rain
thought out and prepared
for him

do not tell me
said warty bliggens
that there is not a purpose
in the universe
the thought is blasphemy
a little more
conversation revealed
that warty bliggens
considers himself to be
the center of the same
the earth exists
to grow toadstools for him
to sit under
the sun to give him light
by day and the moon
and wheeling constellations
to make beautiful
the night for the sake of
warty bliggens
to what act of yours
do you impute
this interest on the part
of the creator
of the universe
i asked him
why is it that you
are so greatly favored
ask rather
said warty bliggens
what the universe
has done to deserve me
if i were a
human being i would
not laugh
too complacently
at poor warty bliggens
for similar
have only too often
lodged in the crinkles
of the human cerebrum
                                       — archy


Lady Em said...

Love the perspective!

Lady Em said...

I really enjoyed reading this! Wise old toad.

SquirrelQueen said...

What a delightful poem. I have indeed met a few humans who have the same thoughts about the creation of the universe centered about them.

Susie Clevenger said...

Delightful..and Yes there are humans I have met who have exaggerated self importance...

nana_ang_poppaphil said...

A lovely poem, I have never heard of "wary bliggens"

Powell River Books said...

Speaking of gardens, you really ought to try something of your own. It really is easy. I've dabbled at it over the years when I had a bit of soil (I've lived in condos since 1980), so I really didn't start gardening in earnest until we got the cabin and my floating garden. Something easy and forgiving would be the scarlet runner beans. You could put them along a fence or in a large pot. All they need is a bit of water, and they are very forgiving. If you are gone when they ripen don't worry. You can just let them go to bean seeds. You can't lose. - Margy

Reader Wil said...

There are indeed human beings who are convinced that they are the most important and impressive person on earth. Others have to understand that it's an honour to be spoken to by them. Poor men or women! When they get ill and need help to get up, to dress, to wash and so on, the world will not listen to them any more.
Kay, how wonderful that you are going to meet Mara. Please give her my best wishes and kind regards!

Cezar and Léia said...

Wonderful post dear Kay, it's a lovely poem indeed!

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Gattina said...

That's too intellectual for me, lol ! I don't understand half of it.

jabblog said...

warty bliggens could teach us all a thing or two about our self-absorption. Thank you for sharing this, Kay - it's new to me and I really enjoyed it. It seems that archy and e.e.cummings have quite a lot in common in the manner of their writing.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Haha! You're right, Kay. I did not specify that the poem had to be original. Thanks for sharing Archy with us. I have read some of his poems before, but not this one. They are very witty.

Fran said...

I really like this poem and love the name Warty Bliggens. It has already gone up on my wall poster of words I love to say x

Jinksy said...

I see warty toad has a fixation for no capital letters and too many line breaks - pity! LOL

Anonymous said...

You left out the very best part of Don Marquis' cockroach conceit.

When archy commandeers the reporter's typewriter after hours, his only means of operating it is to hurl himself headfirst at a desired key, then staggering back to the top so he can hit the next character. Unfortunately, this method makes it impossible to use the shift key at the same time. Often he requests that the typewriter be left with the shift lock down, that his words might carry the weight of all-caps.

I don't know what ee cummings had as an excuse, but it's certainly not as compelling.