Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding

Friday, April 28, 2006


National Poetry Month is almost over, and favorite poems have been posted all over the blogosphere. The best ones I've seen are up on Science & Politics. Leave it to Coturnix to post two (count 'em) poems about Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum). This post awakened in me long-repressed memories of a Wordsworth parody I read in MAD magazine as a kid--a poem that left me haunted and broken as its narrator. Without ado (or permission) I repeat it for you, to the best of my recollection:

I wandered lonely as a clod,
Just picking up old rags and bottles;
When onward on my way I trod,
I saw a host of axolotls.
Beside the lake, beneath the trees
A sight to make a man's blood freeze.

Some had handles, some were plain;
They came in blue, red, pink and green.
Some were orange in the main--
The damnedest sight I've ever seen.
The females gave a spritely glance,
The male ones all wore knee-length pants.

Now oft, when on the couch I lie,
The doctor asks me what I see.
They flash upon my inward eye
And make me laugh in fiendish glee.
I find my solace now in bottles,
And I forget them axolotls.
illustration: GAINER--BELTED KINGFISHER--detail (1995) acrylic 30" x 20"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have NEVER forgotten that one after more than 30 years, though I mostly remembered only the first paragraph! Amazing what we use our brains for! Ah, Culture!

11:56 PM  

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