SOCRATES


by: Carl Sandburg


                    I know Socrates was ridiculous, Jack,

                    And nobody in Athens who was anybody

                    Let it be known they knew him.


                    Snub nose, bald head, bare feet,

                    He never had any holeproof sox,

                    He never had his hair singed by a barber,

                    And he was the despair of dermatologists

                    Who make over the faces God gives men and women.


                    Went around Athens asking questions, Jack

                    All kinds of questions, Old Socrates,

                    Put straight to all kinds of people

                    Because he wasn’t particular:

                    Lawyer, banker, policeman, street woman,

                    He asked them why they are here

                    Who we all are and where we are going all.


                    I know Socrates was ridiculous, Jack

                    Telling the men who ran Athens

                    He knew God and death and government

                    Down to fine points as well as they,

                    Down to the darkest deepest points

                    He claimed he had the dope as sure as they.


                              0 yes, I know,

                    He was ridiculous drinking a cup,

A cup of killing squirming booze,

                    A cup of mortal drastic hemlock,

                              Wishing luck and happy days

                              To everybody in Athens

                              Ready for hell and hereafter,

                              Ready for anything,

                    O I guess he was ridiculous, allright

                    Why does nobody remember the name of the judge

                              who fixed him?

                    Why does nobody remember the name of the doctor

                              who shook the fatal booze?

                    Why does a rum-tum-tiddle world go on talking

                              Socrates and Socrates thousand and thousand

                              of years?



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