The poet of entertainment is known for his expert timing. Here he mixes sophistication with faux-naivete to create pertinent insights about family, humiliation and poetry and brings everyone back down to earth.
What is life? Life is stepping down a step or sitting in a chair.
And it isn't there.
Life is not having been told that the man has just waxed the floor.
Life is pulling doors marked PUSH and pushing doors marked PULL and not
noticing notices which say PLEASE USE OTHER DOOR.
It is when you diagnose a sore throat as an unprepared geography lesson
and send your child weeping to school only to be returned an hour
later covered with spots that are indubitable genuine.
Life is a concert with a trombone soloist filling in for Yehudi Menuhin.
But, were it not for frustration and humiliation
I suppose the human race would get ideas above its station.
Somebody once described Shelley as a beautiful and ineffective angel
beating his luminous wings against the void in vain.
Which is certainly describing with might and main.
But probably means that we are all brothers under our pelts.
And that Shelley went around pulling doors marked PUSH and pushing doors
marked PULL just like everybody else.
Poem Copyright: Penguin Publishing, Linell Nash Smith and Isabel Nash Eberstadt.
Photo Copyright: Frederick Eberstadt