Poem: Thomas Merton — First Lessons 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 his species.
He draws his sin on the wall,
On all the ads in all the subways.
He draws moustaches 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 name.
He drives 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 is only emptiness,
He drives a big white globe called death.

Now dear children
Who 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s