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To the Average Man
by
Wallace Irwin


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The Average Man wears the average clothes
  And the average hat on his head:
He eats at a table and sits on a chair
  And (normally) sleeps on a bed:
For he scorns the eccentric, and never would dare
  To sleep on a table or eat on a chair.

The Average Man seeks the corner saloon
  Omeric refreshment to find;
But, shunning the tipple, he wanders to church
  Where he is devoutly inclined?
Nor does he expect to find whiskey or dice
  In the place that is famed for religious advice.

The Average Man says the average things
  And sings just the average songs;
He’s deucedly fond of the Average Girl,
  For whom he unceasingly longs?
And his vices and virtues, too many to tell,
  Are oddly at odds?but they average well.

Statistics declare that the Average Man
  Finds the Average Woman and mates;
That the Average Family, children all told,
  Is something like two and three-eighths.
(Though fractional children disturb and appall,
The Average Man isn’t worried at all.)

The Average Man reads the average books,
  And sometimes he writes ?em, I hear;
He’s neither a genius, a knave, nor a fool,
  In fact he despises the queer;
For if he departed the Average Plan
He’d cease to be known as the Average Man.

But deep in the breast of the Average Man
  The passions of ages are swirled,
And the loves and the hates of the Average Man
  Are old as the heart of the world?
For the thought of the Race, as we live and we die,
  Is in keeping the Man and the Average high.

This poem is in the public domain.

 

Purchase a framed print of this poem.

Wallace Irwin (1875 – 1959) was born in New York, grew up in Colorado, worked as a journalist in California, and died in North Carolina. He wrote poetry, novels, short stories, screenplays, satire, and more—often under a pseudonym. Both Wallace and his brother Will (also a writer) were expelled from Stanford University.

 

 


New comments are closed for now.
transitions:
Well, I liked it ~
Posted 07/29/2016 02:14 PM
rhonasheridan:
I agree with what Larry says - and couldn't put it better
Posted 07/29/2016 11:18 AM
nobotou:
'omeric' is used as a synonym for thirsty. but i wonder if the author might have also used 'omeric' as a contraction of 'homeric'.
Posted 07/29/2016 10:41 AM
KevinArnold:
Fun. Love Larry's comment.
Posted 07/29/2016 08:08 AM
Larry Schug:
Aside from the fact that no one is average, this a clever poem in that the last two lines in each stanza seem to contradict what is above them. Just something about this that catches my attention and causes me to think (average thoughts).
Posted 07/29/2016 07:09 AM
plgoodman:
I think it's an omage to the middle class, albeit a bit tongue in cheek. His use of the word '"queer" I hope means weird or unusual. I enjoyed the cleverness!
Posted 07/29/2016 06:58 AM
Newf:
Omeric is puzzling, in fact I find the whole poem puzzling. I like the rhythm but I'm not sure about the whole thing.
Posted 07/29/2016 05:19 AM


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