Friday Doggerel: "The Grubber"
which had a ruder title before I remembered it was going to be in the subject line of the e-mail
“Admiration” probably isn’t the word, but sometimes you’ll see something so perfect in its irredeemability that you just want to commemorate it somehow. The recent news about our last president burying his first wife in a pauper’s grave on a golf course for tax purposes brought to mind “The Grubber” (譏貪小利者), an anonymous Yuan-dynasty sanqu lyric. There’s a debate to be had about rhyme in translation, but basically I think doggerel wants to be doggerel, no matter what language it’s in:
He’d snatch the mud from a swallow’s beak,
Shave iron from a pin, or peel
the gold leaf from a Buddha’s cheek —
Give him nothing and still he’ll find something to steal!
Peas from the crop of a quail,
Drumsticks from a stork,
The grease in a mosquito’s gut —
He’ll get it all. Just watch him work.
My sincerest thanks to everybody who subscribed after Wednesday’s post — I don’t know what kind of response I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t that. Now to figure out what to do for next week.
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