Nature Knows Best by Ogden Nash
I don’t know exactly how long ago Hector was a pup,
But it was quite long ago, and even then people used to have
to start their day by getting up.
Yes, people have been getting up for centuries,
They have been getting up in palaces and Pullmans and penitentiaries.
One fact for which every historian vouches
Is that every morning in history began
with people getting up off their couches.
The caveman had to get up before he could
go out and track the Brontosaurus,
Verdi had to get up before he could sit down
and compose the Anvil Chorus,
Alexander had to get up before he could go around being dominant,
Even Rip Van Winkle had to get up from one sleep
before he could climb the mountain
and encounter the sleep which has made him prominent.
Some got up energetically and some in lassitude’s throes,
And I myself happen to love a lassitude, a bonnie bonnie lassitude,
but be that as it may, however they rose, they rose.
Well, birds are descended from birds and
flowers are descended from flowers,
And human beings are descended from generation after generation
of ancestors who got up at least once
every twenty-four hours,
And because birds are descended from birds they don’t have
to be forced to sing like birds instead of like
sextets in an opera,
And because flowers are descended from flowers they don’t have
to be forced to smell like flowers instead of
like seaweed or copra,
But you take human beings, why, their countless generations of ancestors
who were always arising might just as well have spent
all their lives on their mattresses or pallets,
Because their descendants haven’t inherited any talent
for getting up at all. No, every morning they have
To be forced to get up either by their own conscience or
somebody else’s, or alarm clocks or valets.
Well, there is one obvious conclusion that I have always held to,
Which is that if Nature had really intended human beings
to get up, why, they would get up naturally
and wouldn’t have to be compelled to.
This poem was selected by Kathleen L. (Reference Librarian)
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