Thursday, June 27, 2019

first lesson about man

Man begins in zoology
He is the saddest animal
He drives a big red car
Called anxiety
He dreams at night
Of riding all the elevators
Lost in the halls
He never finds the right door

Man is the saddest animal
A flake-eater in the morning
A milk drinker
He fills his skin with coffee
And loses patience
With the rest of the species

He draws his sin on the wall
On all the ads in all the subways
He draws mustaches on all the women
Because he cannot find his joy
Except in zoology

Whenever he goes to the phone
To call joy
He gets the wrong number

Therefore he likes weapons
He knows all guns
By their right names
He droves a big black Cadillac
Called death

Now he is putting anxiety
Into space
He flies his worries
All around Venus
But it does him no good

In space where for a long time
There was only emptiness 
He drives a big white globe
Called death

Now dear children you have learned
The first lesson about man
Answer your test

"Man is the saddest animal
He begins in zoology
And gets lost
In his own bad news."

~ Thomas Merton
from The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton
art by Picasso