Why Fortune Is the Empress
of the World
The insect born of royalty has Marx
And worker housing as a life; has sex
Or clover honey to his pleasure, as
Have we. The parrot speaks. All use:
The aphid and the crocodile the bird.
What then is human wholly? Is it heart?
Fidelity exists in any dog.
Good Doctor who have found your Missing Link,
On your return what will you have him be?
Free agent or a tenant in a cage?
A simple test will serve. It more or less
Is this: can he be taught a game of
It is not possible, you must agree,
To think of animals as gambling. Odds,
Except for us, do not exist. An ape
Assumes always his jump will reach the limb.
For all his skill, he cannot cut his loss.
We, on the other hand, at our most threatened
Turn instinctively ... to Reason? No.
To Fortune, as a mindlessness of mind.
The random that we create creates us.
In overcrowded lifeboats, we draw lots.
The Destructive Element: New and Selected
Poems, Ohio University Press/Swallow Press, ©
Reprinted by permission of the author.