Collegia – Ode 14: Laundry Night


ALL lying on the floor; kicked here and there
By clumsy-footed animals greedy
For their own bags and caring naught for else
But that they get their own, the trivial own;
Their little tin-pot laundries; other folks
Can burrow in the dust and dirt to find
Their laundered shirts and linen. What care they
Who have their own? What care they if some socks
Are lying loose, or collars lost, through their
Own rude endeavours deep to excavate?
May all their shirts be torn and soiled; may all
Their handkerchiefs have iron moulds; may all
Their collars have the stud holes rent apart
So that when morning comes they will be late
In trying to fit on the ragged neck
Of ragged shirt a collar without stud;
So that they will imprisoned be when goes
The bell for breakfast, so that it they miss.
Thus shall we know them by their absence when
We sit enjoying breakfast fare; and say,
“Those are the hooligans who know not how
Well to behave themselves.” And we shall mark
Them down for future reference, to do
Unto them as they have done unto us!

18. 11. 1927