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Earth -- John Hall Wheelock

(Poem #432) Earth
 "A planet doesn't explode of itself," said drily
 The Martian astronomer, gazing off into the air --
 "That they were able to do it is proof that highly
 Intelligent beings must have been living there."
-- John Hall Wheelock
What can one possibly add to a poem like that? :) I'll content myself with
quoting Wheelock on poetry:

  "in poetry, words are employed more as an end, and less as a means merely,
  than is the case with prose."

Biographical Snippet:

John Wheelock (1886 - 1978) American Poet

Strangely enough, while there are several of Wheelock's poems online, and a
number of quotations, I was unable to find a biography.


A few vaguely-related poems:

For a somewhat less self-assured Martian view of humanity, see poem #131
On 'highly intelligent beings': poem #57
And the same theme explored from some other angles: poem #222, poem #223

And while there are other poems to which this could be related I'll leave
you the pleasure of making the connections yourself.

- martin

32 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Suresh Ramasubramanian said...

Ouch. This is the best bit of sarcasm I've ever come across - that it
rhymes is just the icing on the cake :)


mallika said...

1.American author and poet; held various positions at Charles Scribner's Sons
publishing firm, including editor and director.
2.Notably eastern in his education and tendencies, John Hall Wheelock was born
on Long Island, was graduated from Harvard where he was class poet, and later
studied in the universities of Göttingen, Berlin and Vienna. Since then he has
been on the staff of one of the large New York publishers. His verses are
musical, sweeping and often vociferous, though in his later moods he has lapsed
into quieter measures. An almost passionate love of life and beauty is apparent,
contrasting with his tall, brooding, silent figure.

Alisonetaylortwp said...


I just returned home from viewing the ruins of the World Trade Center. I sat
down at the computer to try to find something to cheer myself up. I thought
of looking up my dear childhood friend, Mr. Wheelock, and was delighted to
find this site. It would make him very happy to learn that his works had
been remembered, and that people around the world could find out about him by
using this fascinating medium.

Thanks for lifting my spirits, and his, in whatever garden he now inhabits.

Ali Taylor

Alisonetaylortwp said...

I wanted to tell Mallika that Uncle Jack wasn't "brooding and silent."
Although at the end of his life he was troubled by deafness and it was harder
for him to take part in general conversation, he retained his interest in
life and his wonderful sense of humor. He was particularly funny because he
could deliver a story or joke with a completely deadpan expression, looking
rather like a cross between an owl and a university professor. I could hear
his jokes and stories over and over, and find them funny every time!

JerTheBearChevy1 said...

It's what I think is a very wierd but good poem indeed.

Jerry R. Wheelock

The Wilds said...

What would you say the differences in tone are between this poem and "Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost.

Please, email me

MKB said...

I have only known JHWs poem Random Reflections on a Summer Evening
and love it dearly. Lately I have been living some in Vermont's
northeast kingdom and wonder, or shoould I say assume, there is a
connection. Thanks for the information...

Marcel Black

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