From the Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes
Listen (to Kosh read)
I made a big decision a little while ago.
I don’t remember what it was, which prob’ly goes to show
That many times a simple choice can prove to be essential
Even though it often might appear inconsequential.
I must have been distracted when I left my home because
Left or right I’m sure I went. (I wonder which it was!)
Anyway, I never veered: I walked in that direction
Utterly absorbed, it seems, in quiet introspection.
For no reason I can think of, I’ve wandered far astray.
And that is how I got to where I find myself today.
Explorers are we, intrepid and bold,
Out in the wild, amongst wonders untold.
Equipped wit our wits, a map, and a snack,
We’re searching for fun and we’re on the right track!
My mother has eyes on the back of her head!
I don’t quite believe it, but that’s what she said.
She explained that she’d been so uniquely endowed
To catch me when I did Things Not Allowed.
I think she must also have eyes on her rear.
I’ve noticed her hindsight is usually clear.
At night my mind does not much care
If what it thinks is here or there.
It tells me stories it invents
And makes up things that don’t make sense.
I don’t know why it does this stuff.
The real world seems quite weird enough.
What if my bones were in a museum,
Where aliens paid good money to see ’em?
And suppose that they’d put me together all wrong,
Sticking bones on to bones where they didn’t belong!
Imagine phalanges, pelvis, and spine
Welded to mandibles that once had been mine!
With each misassemblage, the error compounded,
The aliens would draw back in terror, astounded!
Their textbooks would show me in grim illustration,
The most hideous thing ever seen in creation!
The museum would commission a model in plaster
Of ME, to be called, “Evolution’s Disaster”!
And paleontologists there would debate
Dozens of theories to help postulate
How man survived for those thousands of years
With teeth-covered arms growing out of his ears!
Oh, I hope that I’m never in such manner displayed,
No matter HOW much to see me the aliens paid.
I did not want to go with them.
Alas, I had no choice.
This was made quite clear to me
In threat’ning tones of voice.
I protested mightily
And scrambled ‘cross the floor.
But though I grabbed the furniture,
they dragged me out of the door.
In the car, I screamed and moaned.
I cried my red eyes dry.
The window down, I yelled for help
To people we passed by.
Mom and Dad can make the rules
And certain things forbid,
But I can make them wish that they
Had never had a kid.
Now I’m in bed,
The sheets pulled to my head.
My tiger is here making Zs.
He’s furry and hot.
He takes up a lot
Of the bed and he’s hogging the breeze.
Well, CnH[Calivin and Hobbes] has always been my favorite strip and it is something that I invariably turn to, when I am down or in a foul mood. And it is not just the sharp humor, its not just the art, its the way it can touch something deep within you – its a world I keep wanting to escape to. And this poem has the quality of one of those wandering dreams – multiple images tied together that somehow makes sense.
I first heard this poem back in 8th standard i think… my english prof did a brilliant reading (actually, an ‘enactment’) of this during one class. I remember the whole class giggling away – some of us fell down laughing!! – its one of my fondest memories! :)
Philosophy, pop-art, magical realism, anthropomorphic tigers, space expeditions, transmogrifiers, pain and pleasure. All this in just three frames worth of work with indian ink and a small sable brush. Bill Watterson’s genius lies in his ability take on these topics and million more with great élan (albeit) as a six-year old and his sardonic (stuffed) tiger. His poetry is a seamless extension of what he does so very well with his comic strip.