I am looking for a poem that I read in high school, which I believe is fairly famous. It is about an average man, who never took any chances, and it is reflection on his life ( a life of mediocrity) after he has died. Can anyone know what it is called?
this one, by chance ?
The Unknown Citizen
(To JS/07/M/378 This Marble Monument Is Erected by the State)
He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for he time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.
-- W. H. Auden
I didn't notice yours ...
guess it took me so long to find it,
when I did you had already posted it ...
Probably not the one you are looking for, but let me add
'The Strange Case of the Cautious Motorist'
by Ogden Nash
Have you read the biography of Mr. Schwellenbach? You can miss it if you try.
Mr. Schwellenbach didn't have much to live for, but he didn't want to die.
Statistics of automobile fatalities filled his brain,
And he never drove over 25 miles per hour, and always, I regret to say, in the left-hand lane.
Whenever he stopped for a red light he cut off the ignition, put on the hand brake, locked all the doors, checked his license and registration cards, and looked in the glove compartment to see if he had mice,
So when the light turned green everybody behind him had to wait while he de-moused the car, reassured himself that he was driving legally, unlocked the doors, released the hand brake, reignited the ignition, pressed the wrong button and turned on Bing Crosby instead of the motor, and the light turned from green to red to green thrice.
Every autumn with the rains
Mr. Schwellenbach bought a new pair of chains.
He kept a record of every lethal blowout in the Western Hemisphere since 1921 in his files,
And he turned in his tires for new ones every 750 miles.
Well, he was driving on his new tires at 25 miles an hour in the left-hand lane of a dual highway last week, was Mr. Schwellenbach,
And a car coming the other way owned by a loan shark who had bought his old tires cheap had a blowout and jumped the dividing line and knocked him to hellenbach.