You take a kitchen-mallet
and a knife
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
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,
birds have an accurate built-in time sense
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.