Sunday, July 09, 2006

"I knew the bottom wasn't there..."

Traditional Japanese Chair
With Zabuton and Separate Armrest
(Bottomless and Legless, but Backful)
(Borrowed from Wikipedia)

In the spirit of yesterday's man, I'm posting another little nonsense poem by William Hughes Mearns:

The Perfect Reactionary

As I was sitting in my chair,
I knew the bottom wasn't there,
Nor legs nor back, but I just sat,
Ignoring little things like that.

I have referred to this as a nonsense poem, but with a title like The Perfect Reactionary, it certainly has a meaning.

Mearns emphasized John Dewey's "progressive education," so the poem is likely related to his views on education theory and perhaps more broadly intended as a critical comment on fixed political ideologies.

A date would be helpful, but none is given anywhere that I've searched online.

At any rate, this poem's more serious meaning, implied by its title, The Perfect Reactionary, suggests that Antigonish, 1899 might have a more serious meaning as well, perhaps linked to the educational and political theories that Mearns held.

Again, any ideas?

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