Alexander Pope (1688-1744) wrote wonderful satirical verse, the most famous of which, "The Rape of the Lock," happily rambles along for several hundred tongue-in-cheek lines. Deformed by illness as a child, he learned well the art of verbal self-defense. When accused of being overly obsequious toward the powerful people who became his patrons, he shot back:
"I am his Highnesses’ dog at Kew,
Pray tell me sir, whose dog are you?"
My own favorite Pope poem, though, isn’t satirical, biting, or even droll. It’s a paean to life’s simple pleasures called "Solitude." The updated version of this work that follows, titled "Home Alone," might resonate today with people who are reexamining some of their priorities in the wake of a much transformed, post-September 11th, marketplace.
Happy is she, who works at home
And her maternal chores fulfills,
Avoids the office twilight zone
And still pays bills.
Whose house has heat, whose car still runs,
Whose satisfied no fame to reap
Whose friendships bring her day time fun,
And nights good sleep.
Blest, with a nonmaterial bent
No stocks, no bonds, no savings pot,
She’s in good shape, makes the rent,
Smiles a lot.
I want that life, swept clean of fools,
With market madness, have no tie,
Slip through the cracks, break all the rules
Then up and die.