From troubles of the world
I turn to ducks,
Beautiful comical things
Sleeping or curled
Their heads beneath white wings
By water cool,
Or finding curious things
To eat in various mucks
Beneath the pool,
Tails uppermost, or waddling
Sailor-like on the shores
Of ponds, or paddling
Left! Right! - with fanlike feet
Which are for steady oars
When they (white galleys) float
Each bird a boat
Rippling at will the sweet
Wide waterway . . .
Yes, ducks are soothy things
And lovely on the lake
When the sunlight draws
Thereon their pictures dim
In colours cool.
And when beneath the pool
They dabble, and when they swim
And make their rippling rings,
O, ducks are beautiful things!
But ducks are comical things:
As comical as you.
They waddle round, they do.
They eat all sorts of things,
And then they quack.
By barn and stable and stack
They wander at their will,
But if you go too near
They look at you through black
Small topaz-tinted eyes
And wish you ill.
Triangular and clear
They leave their curious track
In mud at the water's edge,
And there amid the sedge
And slime they gobble and peer
Saying "Quack! quack."
When God had finished the stars and whirl of coloured suns,
He turned His mind from big things to fashion little ones.
Beautiful tiny things (like daisies) He made, and then
He made the comical ones in case the minds of men
Should stiffen and become
Dull, humourless and glum:
And so forgetful of their Maker be
As to take themselves quite seriously.
And as for the duck, I think God must have smiled a bit
Seeing those bright eyes blink on the day He fashioned it.
And He's probably laughing still
At the sound that came out of its bill!
Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Hans Gál (1890 - 1987), "Scherzo", op. 77 no. 6 (1951), published 1960 [soprano or mezzo-soprano solo, three-part women's chorus, and strings], from Of a Summer Day, no. 6, Association of American Choruses, Philadelphia [ sung text verified 1 time]
Text added to the website: 2010-02-07 00:00:00.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:03:33
Line count: 57
Word count: 303
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