JUBILATE PUERIS (Christopher Smart gratias)
For I will consider my Boy Michael.
For he is the servant of no one, although we do request his assistance.
For when it comes to food, he worships in his own way.
For this is done by opening the peanut butter jar and swirling a knife seven times round with
For then he spreads the peanut butter upon the bread, and closes up the jar, and leaves the
dirty knife upon the counter.
For he layers jelly upon the sandwich.
For having thus made his own lunch he does pride himself.
For this is the minimum of what is expected of him, that he make his lunch and put his
own clothes upon his body and occasionally wash his ears.
For having considered the basics of survival in a cursory way he then considers himself.
For he is a 13-year-old boy in each of the following degrees:
For first he outgrows his shoes in speedy fashion.
For secondly he practices insouciance.
For thirdly he sprawls himself upon the furniture, so as to take up as much room as possible.
For fourthly he allows no kisses at the bus stop.
For fifthly he provokes his sister into wrath.
For sixthly he does not always wash.
For seventhly he tosses his soiled clothing upon the floor of his room.
For eighthly he leaves his sneakers where we may trip upon them.
For ninthly he does look up to us for his instructions.
For tenthly does he ignore us.
For having considered his parents and himself he will consider his sister.
For if he meets another 13-year-old boy he will play games with him.
For when homework or piano practice are required he will devote his time to dallying.
For when dallying is no longer an option he will attempt to argue.
For he will attend to his work at long last, and receive good grades in school, and be considered
among the best of students.
For when he is awake his chatter is ceaseless.
For this chatter is a pleasure to his parents and an irritation to his sister.
For he is merry and of pleasant countenance.
For when his day’s work is done he will retire with a book.
For this his family feels gratitude and thankfulness, and tells him he is a good Boy.
For each family would benefit by having one such boy.
For Michael is the best boy in the World.
Poet, essayist, librettist and occasional radio commentator Ann E. Michael (website, blog) is also Writing Coordinator at DeSales University in eastern Pennsylvania. She is the author of four chapbooks of poetry, most recently The Capable Heart, and a full-length collection, Water-Rites, is forthcoming from Brick Road Poetry Press. An avid gardener and an advocate for the arts, she is a past recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowship in poetry. She’s helped edit two qarrtsiluni issues: New Classics and Imprisonment.