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Doomsday Poetry with Arthur Guiterman

There are a few poems I’ve attempted to memorize. Archibald Lampman’s The City of the End of Things is in there somewhere, so too is Kipling’s Mandalay and a few ditties by Ogden Nash.

The statues are falling and essay after essay urges the destruction of historical documents. So, I find myself reciting Arthur Guiterman’s (1871-1943) signature poem to myself on the daily.

The tusks that clashed in mighty brawls
Of mastodons, are billiard balls.

The sword of Charlemagne the Just
Is ferric oxide, known as rust.

The grizzly bear whose potent hug
Was feared by all, is now a rug.

Great Caesar’s bust is on my shelf,
And I don’t feel so well myself.

The longer “Our New Religion” wears the same outlook. It was published in 1936’s collection Gaily the Troubadour.

First dentistry was painless.
Then bicycles were chainless,
Carriages were horseless,
And many laws enforceless.

Next cookery was fireless,
Telegraphy was wireless,
Cigars were nicotineless,
And coffee caffeineless.

Soon oranges were seedless,
The putting green was weedless,
The college boy was hatless,
The proper diet fatless.

New motor roads are dustless,
The latest steel is rustless,
Our tennis courts are sodless,
Our new religion — godless.

Progress doesn’t always mean better.

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