The dVerse challenge is to enter into a conversation with a poem (and thereby the poet) that has called to us in 2020. Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) penned his poem Genius in his private journal.
Genius by Mark Twain
Genius, like gold and precious stones,
is chiefly prized because of its rarity.
Geniuses are people who dash off weird, wild,
incomprehensible poems with astonishing facility,
and get booming drunk and sleep in the gutter.
Genius elevates its possessor to ineffable spheres
far above the vulgar world and fills his soul
with regal contempt for the gross and sordid things of earth.
It is probably on account of this
that people who have genius
do not pay their board, as a general thing.
Geniuses are very singular.
If you see a young man who has frowsy hair
and distraught look, and affects eccentricity in dress,
you may set him down for a genius.
If he sings about the degeneracy of a world
which courts vulgar opulence
and neglects brains,
he is undoubtedly a genius.
If he is too proud to accept assistance,
and spurns it with a lordly air
at the very same time
that he knows he can’t make a living to save his life,
he is most certainly a genius.
If he hangs on and sticks to poetry,
notwithstanding sawing wood comes handier to him,
he is a true genius.
If he throws away every opportunity in life
and crushes the affection and the patience of his friends
and then protests in sickly rhymes of his hard lot,
and finally persists,
in spite of the sound advice of persons who have got sense
but not any genius,
persists in going up some infamous back alley
dying in rags and dirt,
he is beyond all question a genius.
But above all things,
to deftly throw the incoherent ravings of insanity into verse
and then rush off and get booming drunk,
is the surest of all the different signs
Genius Thriftiness by Padre
If genius is a thing comprehended
It is in itself a thing rare as you say
For there may well be more in a gifted mind
That can easily be presented in mere wordplay
Yet if genius is truly one’s muse
Who are you oh Clemens to them abuse
Though much of your reflections have some worth
There is far more in the spirit of those who write verse
And if you are correct in you musings
It speaks volumes that you have such a muse
So be careful in your assertions
When true genius you abuse
Now clever I may well be
Though genius may well possess me
But in its exercise I shall be thrifty
To state the point more succinctly
Genius and the poet can be one
Checkmate Twain, I’ve won