Brief Reflection On Test Tubes Miroslav Holub Analysis Essay

You take a kitchen-mallet

and a knife

and hit

the right spot, so it doesn’t jerk, for

jerking means only complications and reduces profit.

And the watchers already narrow their eyes, already admire the   


already reach for their purses. And paper is ready

for wrapping it up. And smoke rises from chimneys.

And Christmas peers from windows, creeps along the ground

and splashes in barrels.

Such is the law of happiness.

I am just wondering if the carp is the right creature.

A far better creature surely would be one

which—stretched out—held flat—pinned down—

would turn its blue eye

on the mallet, the knife, the purse, the paper,

the watchers and the chimneys

and Christmas,

And quickly

say something. For instance

These are my happiest days; these are my golden days.


The starry sky above me and the moral law within me,


And yet it moves.

Or at least



    always accurately know where to move and when,

    and likewise

    birds have an accurate built-in time sense

    and orientation.

Humanity, however,

    lacking such instincts resorts to scientific

    research. Its nature is illustrated by the following


A certain soldier

    had to fire a cannon at six o’clock sharp every evening.

    Being a soldier he did so. When his accuracy was

    investigated he explained:

I go by

    the absolutely accurate chronometer in the window

    of the clockmaker down in the city. Every day at seventeen

    forty-five I set my watch by it and

    climb the hill where my cannon stands ready.

    At seventeen fifty-nine precisely I step up to the cannon

    and at eighteen hours sharp I fire.

And it was clear

    that this method of firing was absolutely accurate.

    All that was left was to check that chronometer. So

    the clockmaker down in the city was questioned about

    his instrument’s accuracy.

Oh, said the clockmaker,

    this is one of the most accurate instruments ever. Just imagine,

    for many years now a cannon has been fired at six o’clock sharp.

    And every day I look at this chronometer

    and always it shows exactly six.

Chronometers tick and cannon boom.


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