A Parallel Uni-Verse
Humility
By M’Donald Clarke
Do you call me poor, you slugger,
Won’t Posterity let me hug her,
And won’t she hug me back again?
Isn’t my pen
The Sceptre of Eternity, to wave
Over Earth’s grave?

Don’t call me poor –
I don’t feel so, I’m sure,
Tho’ I can’t hug Miss -----
Yet, roly-poly Centuries will hug me,
And say her Family were unwise,
To look, with scowling eyes,
On the man, the Almighty has Knighted,
And his Countrymen have so slighted.
He thinks of jumping the Ocean waters,
For one of John Bull’s bunkum daughters.

Poor – that sticks in my poetic crop –
Why, Fooley, I wouldn’t swap
My wealth, for Astor’s, or the Barings’,
Why, the mere parings
Of my strapping Spirit’s fruit,
Will fatten the sows of Society, thro’ all time;
And when I swell my soul to the super-sublime,
Don’t I make the Arch-Angels stare,
And the Devil run
From ramskuttleish fun –
I tell you what – I shan’t be forgot
By the Sister Ages, if I am by this,
My memory will have a soaking kiss.

The evening before Earth dies,
The place, where my body lies,
Will be worn by pretty girls’ feet;
There they’ll sit, and eat
Apples, in the pleasant summer time,
And read my romantic rhyme,
And vow their Grannies were silly, to
Say, Poo! Poo!
To me, and my pepper’d poetry, and not make
A whapping wedding cake,
And coax Miss ----- to bury her scorn in its centre,
And with me enter
The slippery State of Matrimony,
And be Donald’s Ony Dony,
And let me hug her,
Till her heart feels sqush –
Hush, hush – you’ll make her blush,
And you’ve made me blow,
By calling me poor, you slugger,
Psho! psho!
I’m sure I don’t feel so –
So I should think,
From this hurricane of ink.

July 14, ’36.


M'Donald Clarke (1798-1842) was one of America's original outsider poets. David Brainerd of Howland reports Clarke was apparently born in Bath, Maine. As a child (still going by the given name McDonald) he moved with his mother to New London, Connecticut, where he played as a youngster with David's relative, poet John G. C. Brainard. David says Clarke lived most of his life in New York City, and was known as the Mad Poet of Broadway, poor and apparently often homeless. Walt Whitman wrote a poem in tribute to him after his death, and some say that Whitman modeled his own outsider persona on Clarke.