Sarcasms in Sable by George Abbe

How righteous to serve those who manipulate the market,
Who swerve the lever on the machine that coruscates the world,
Streamlined for world leadership, for rhythms and commercial aesthetics most desirable,
Flashing the steel rails of adventure to madder monsters…
Enormous tabernacles of contrition and competition…
Who can heap the holy floor with the most prayers to success?

It is meet that we drive the taxis well, for there are large bodies,
Repositories of wealth, who pay to ride and may excrete a tip –
The coin clings well to the bloodied palm, and who knows when we may work again?
It is proper to be on time, and not to protest unemployment,
For that is a crushed flower we should hail and hold to the button-hole.

How secretly lovely to serve the planners of new highways
Who have herded the legislators into marbled corners and forced on them garlands,
Who have slipped the notification of advancement to the banks who send notifications of eviction.
How pleasant to feel the gay garland of taxes on the warm brow!
Who sport in the street? Those who have but a short time to live,
Who extorted seniority rights, and condone the closed shop.
Who bewail the lack of shelters? Those who do not realise that tradition is vital
And each turtle has only one shell even though his children are crushed and bleeding.

How pleasant to hear the air waves honeycombed with the golden juice of truth,
Let it drip upon the fingers of need. Are we not destitute, failing?
Is not the Manufacturers’ Association strong and able to help?
Commit to them the hands of your longing, and extend for them your failing strength;
Is it not good to feel yourself the servant of others, as the Bible exhorts?

The air waves classify news: a boy with an American grin whacks a towering homer, a woman disgorges her marriage,
Someone else runs and falls in the blood of a crime. These are matters for concern.
Life has always been tragic. Do not concentrate on persistent evils, rising rents.
The newspapers spawn little tadpoles of pleasure; dip in fingers, feel the entrancing wriggle of cartoons and local shows.
Put them under a glass, and watch them grow.
Then, in daylight, swell the chest of your usefulness.
You serve, and the twenty-room house at the shore will prosper in new paint and shingles;
You, as you pass in a second-hand car, can feel happy
To feel soothed by big lawns and cool trees and magnificence.
This you have helped preserve. That you did it for others
Is part of the moral fitness: treasure laid up in heaven.
Be joyous, rejoice, you are part of the righteous republic.


Date: 1929

By: George Abbe (1911-1989)

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