Poem by John Ciardi: “Philosophical Poem”

John Ciardi: “Philosophical Poem”

The disease of civilization is not tools, citizen.

Ignorance might be closer to it.

Politics closer. But only Money

Will hit the brass tacks everyone wants to get down to

Squarely on the head.

Above all, I have no case against human nature.

Whatever that is, I like it.

I like mechanics with wrenches,

Taxi drivers’ photos on licenses,

Drunks lighting cigarettes.

What the hell else is there to like

After you’ve kissed your wife and gone to sleep?

I like everything but important people being important.

And academic people being academic.

What I like least is bookkeepers

Spending their human eyes on accounts receivable,

Interest receivable, payment due, balance on hand.

And columns of soldiers marching.


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