'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Thursday, 5 June 2008

Archy and Mehitabel




I'm not very fond of cockroaches.  Except maybe one - a fictional one, full of social commentary and humor, invented by Don Marquis.  Archy is a cockroach who types his views at night in a newspaper office, and whose work is characterised by distinctive typing due to his lack of ability to hold down the shift key and type at the same time.  

Originally a series of newspaper articles back in the 1916, it captured my imagination when I saw it some years ago in a mag.  I remember Archy every time I have a sore finger or hand and can't type properly.  And also sometimes when I see all the lower-case, no-apostrophed stuff touted as as writing communication these days.

It was turned into an animated musical (Shinbone Alley - 1971) but was a bit of  a flop.  

Archy's story begins:
expression is the need of my soul
i was once a vers libre bard  
but i died and my soul went into the body of a cockroach
it has given me a new outlook on life
i see things from the underside now
thank you for the apple peelings in the wastepaper basket
but your paste is getting so stale i can t eat it
there is a cat here called mehitabel i wish you would have
removed she nearly ate me the other night why don t she
catch rats that is what she is supposed to be here for 
there is a rat here she could get without delay

And a bit of philosophy:

if you get gloomy just
take an hour off and sit
and think how
much better this world
is than hell
of course it won t cheer
you up much if
you expect to go there

2 comments:

  1. Your Shelfari Bookshelf is intruding into your posts and this is in direct contravention of Blogging Protocol No. 37b para 14. Unless fixed ,I shall have no alternative but to report you to The Blogger Ombudsman! Beware! I might also create a romantic fiction involving a couple of online Kiwis - for all the world to read!

    ReplyDelete
  2. :-) Thank you YP. I have removed it. Cheeky monkey.

    ReplyDelete