A post-1859 depiction of Charles Darwin‘Images of Darwin, post-1859’ and Other Poetry by Damian Robin The Society August 15, 2022 Culture, Human Rights in China, Poetry, Satire 13 Comments . Images of Darwin, Post-1859 1859: The year the ponderously titled On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle For Life was published. A fat, combed beard mimes fluffed white wool While in a pose of gravitas That at that time was usual— The God-right presence of his class. He’d sit through winters, sure and warm, Beard hair tucked round chin and chest— And this at length becomes his norm— A deep and thoughtful sage at rest. Through garden, hothouse, chicken coop He marks up life’s set ways and quirks But never brews Primordial Soup, That’s from a later writer’s works. His scrambled nests of hair-thin thoughts That strangle Genesis and Christ Are served as aperitifs of sorts Or plates of flesh and plant, fine-diced: Hors d’oeuvres or starters for a feast, Meticulously noted peeks At worm and barnacle and beast, Orchids, rodents, finches’ beaks. But the main meal’s only smell, The smoke of promised food that’s shrill, That doesn’t wholly turn out well, A fluffed merengue that doesn’t fill. Each observation goes so far— Then stops. The origin’s not reached. Though piled with produce from afar, The banquet’s platter’s holed and breached. He has a menu, beard, and bib, Sits and eats with due concern, Sincere and humble, seldom glib, Always at work so all can learn. It’s lucky Darwin kept to books With beard to keep his throat well-scarved For if his work had been a cook’s His well-kept family would have starved. . . Redbeards Karl Marx had a bigger beard than Engels. Engles had a bigger beard than Lenin. Lenin had a bigger beard than Stalin Who had no beard, just a lip of wangles. Stalin’s ’stache was two huge laughing roaches That he hoped showed him more a man than Mao Whose smooth moon face, full udder of a cow, Has been the hook for followers’ approaches: So Bosses of the Party go clean-shaven (Though they’re not clean inside nor anywhere). They frown on full-flown forms of facial hair, Use cut-throat blades to keep their image graven: The CCP’s so scared of losing face, Its leaders won’t leave one hair out of place. . . Damian Robin is a writer and editor living in the United Kingdom. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 13 Responses James A. Tweedie August 15, 2022 Damian, Fun poetry, today. Using hirsuteness as a means to satirical mockery might well be genius, but if nothing else, it is certainly inspired! If there is one thing despots loathe and fear more than anything else, it is ridicule. And your closing couplet in the second poem says it better than I can! Reply Paul Freeman August 15, 2022 Yes, most tyrants do tend to be vain, and especially attentive to their facial hair. Sadam Hussein was surrounded by toadies imitating his luxurious lip caterpillar. Thanks for the reads. Reply Joseph S. Salemi August 15, 2022 In the second poem, the surname should be spelled Engels, unless of course you are being humorous in the manner of Ogden Nash. Hitler had his famous short “smudge” mustache, which was actually a product of World War I trench warfare, when many German soldiers shaved off the long extremities of their Wilhelmine mustaches for hygiene and convenience. Reply Damian Robin August 15, 2022 [Mike has changed the spell mistook, thanks for your observations, Joe.] I didn’t know this about Hitler’s moustache [UK English/French spelling}. It’s also said that they cut their tashes to fit into gas masks. There’s a nice pic of Adolf with a longer moustache here https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/hitler_adolf On Wikipedia, it says the toothbrush moustashe ” became popular in the United States in the late 19th century; from there it spread to Germany and elsewhere”. Charlie Chaplin and Oliver Hardy had these moustaches before WW1. But I’m sure Adolf would have kept his crew-cut-like face hair crop to tie him to his war career (which is slightly debunked in the above link) ‘huge laughing cockroaches’ is from Osip Mandelstam’s “The Stalin Epigram” https://poets.org/poem/stalin-epigram. Reply Damian Robin August 15, 2022 A few footnotes on the golompagosly-titled “On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle For Life”: In general conversation it is sometimes called ‘Origin of THE Species’ meaning OUR species, humankind. But human development is hardly mentioned in this book. Nor does the word ‘evolution’ or the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ appear in the early editions. Darwin was cunningly cautious. The book went through six editions during Darwin’s life, each different to the others. The last one dropped ‘On’ from the title so it became ‘The Origin of Species’, making it sound more self-confident and authoritative. Reply Damian Robin August 15, 2022 And don’t miss the singingly clever https://classicalpoets.org/2022/08/15/an-anti-evolution-song-by-evan-mantyk/#/ Reply Evan Mantyk August 15, 2022 Thank you for the poems, Damian. I love the subtlety in the first and the concluding couplet in the sonnet is perfectly and rightly stinging. Well done! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant August 16, 2022 Damian, I love these quirky poetic observations – I had no idea facial hair could be so inspirational. I especially like the witty reference to “Primordial Soup” in the third stanza of “Images of Darwin, Post-1859”. Thank you! Reply Margaret Coats August 17, 2022 Damian, good fun in both. Seeing the concern with food in “Images of Darwin,” I begin to think of him as a sloppy eater who saved little droppings in his beard for snacks. Maybe the beard was an evolutionary necessity because his wife or cook would not feed him between meals. Was it reddish at first? “Redbeards” brings to mind the prototype Bluebeard, serial killer who hid corpses in a secret chamber. How apropos! He got away with grisly murder for a long time, until the seventh intended victim brought her family to her aid, and succeeded in killing Bluebeard and going on to re-marry. No wonder Redbeards strive for secrecy and hate the family. May the family and its values defeat the Redbeards at last, and the survivors have a happy honeymoon. The couplet on saving face certainly applies to Kim Il Sung and Pol Pot, but let us beware full-bearded Westerners like Castro. Reply Damian Robin August 19, 2022 Good questions, Margaret. Perhaps his beard harboured enough crumbs to attract feathered friends and led to copying Bird’s Nest Soup. I hope you return to this page and click on the link below — you may like the many versions of Bluebeard from around the world and also the illustrations. https://www.terriwindling.com/blog/2019/07/bluebeard.html Thank you, go well. Reply Margaret Coats August 19, 2022 Thanks, Damian. A good summary of various stories, and a wonderful collection of illustrations for them! You, going down a different path, have made a contribution to this folklore tradition, invoking its exceptional horror to remind us of real ongoing horrors attributable to communism. Mike Bryant August 19, 2022 Damian, both of these poems are inspired and wonderfully quirky. Also, some person named “asdf” keeps commenting here on your poem. Since the comments seem to be meant for some other website, I have deleted them, Mike the Moderator Reply Damian Robin August 19, 2022 Thank you so much, Mike the Mod, For your comment on my prod- duction and for your long persistence in keeping clear this site’s existence. One post got through, it mentioned ‘god’. Thank you for your diligence, Your common sense, and vigilance, Not all is good that mentions ‘god’. Go well, stout heart! Reply Leave a Reply to Evan Mantyk Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.