Friday, July 11, 2008

Beg

BEG, v. To ask for something with an earnestness proportioned to the belief that it will not be given.
Who is that, father?

A mendicant, child,
Haggard, morose, and unaffable — wild!
See how he glares through the bars of his cell!
With Citizen Mendicant all is not well.

Why did they put him there, father?

Because
Obeying his belly he struck at the laws.

His belly?

Oh, well, he was starving, my boy —
A state in which, doubtless, there's little of joy.
No bite had he eaten for days, and his cry
Was "Bread!" ever "Bread!"

What's the matter with pie?

With little to wear, he had nothing to sell;
To beg was unlawful — improper as well.

Why didn't he work?

He would even have done that,
But men said: "Get out!" and the State remarked: "Scat!"
I mention these incidents merely to show
That the vengeance he took was uncommonly low.
Revenge, at the best, is the act of a Siou,
But for trifles —

Pray what did bad Mendicant do?

Stole two loaves of bread to replenish his lack
And tuck out the belly that clung to his back.

Is that all father dear?

There's little to tell:
They sent him to jail, and they'll send him to — well,
The company's better than here we can boast,
And there's —

Bread for the needy, dear father?

Um — toast.
—Atka Mip
2008 Update: To acquire by second-hand anxiety.

23 comments:

TLP said...

First! I mean that Beg is the first thing you try. If that doesn't work, then borrow or steal.

Jim said...

Beg: The sad poem you found reminded me right away of Les Misérables.

If TLP hadn't said, I would have. I've done or tried all when desparate! [Some day I will tell about running out of gas at a remote town late at night when I was a teenager out with my car loaded with our group! Nothing was stolen, BUT ALMOST]

Beg: Only the dog begged at our Blogstock '08 meeting last week at the corn farm.
..

quilly said...

BEG v.
Knock and the door shall open.
Seek and you shall find.
Ask and you'll be given.

Hi. My name is Marion. I have never been to your church before, and as soon as you help me I'll be gone and you'll never see me againbut I have a prayer request. My family is in deep financial distress and in times of need I always turn to the Lord. He has bestowed his people with gullib, uhm, [cough] generous hearts.

Tom & Icy said...

It's the only way I know how to get a can opened.

Nessa said...

I beg your pardon. I never promised you a rose garden.

Anonymous said...

I Beg For Your Forgiveness --GW Bush,at the pearly gates ............

Anonymous said...

Begging Will Not Get You In,There Is Room For Only One Supreme Devil Here--gatekeeper to Mr.Cheney,at the gates of hell......

the amoeba said...

One of my favorite Bierce verses. It reflects on a time (colonial times here in America, initially reflecting British practice) when the theft of a loaf of bread was indeed a hanging offense. Such practices ended in America when the Powers realized that there were far more resources here than people to work them, and well-paid work was the strongest possible deterrence. Something to think on in this Year of Our Lord 1929 ... no, wait ...

mireille said...

Very Dickensian. In trying to decipher the update, I'm thinking you are channeling a kinder, gentler Phil Gramm. xoxo

Doug said...

TLP, when does extort come in? I usually start there.

OK, Jim, but which dog?

Quilly, that sure sounds familiar.

Icy, if our claws were just a little bit sharper...

No, Nessa, but didn't you say something about a crown?

Man, Anonymous, he's taking his secret service detail with him?

I agree, Amoeba. And it reads surprisingly modern.

Mireille, I was thinking of the anxiety of acquisition followed by the stress of imploring eyes (in a beagle's head.) I was pretty sure this morning the post didn't quite come off.

Jamie Dawn said...

It's good to once again have a word of the day to comment on.
My belly was not pressed against my back at all, but I managed to tuck it out whilst on vacation. I am good at that, and no begging was required.
I DID bring a huge box of chocolate truffles and handed them out to everyone at Blogstock. I did not make any of them beg. I felt like such a philanthropist because I gave truffles to better humankind. I feel the ripple effect will go on forever.

tsduff said...

Nessa - Love that song!

Little kids are best - indeed masters at the art of begging. Just tell me, could you turn down a begging request from one of your nieces or nephews?

Anonymous said...

beg---truly first thought,,,excuse me i do not mean to interrupt(yes he did),,really i am not homeless,i just need a bus ticket to get to ?san jose? can you help me out with 15 dollars or what ever you can spare---french train station,excuse me do you speak english---rome,do you mind if i pickpocket you---amsterdam,enjoyed the street musicians and with pleasure was one of their benefactors....once had a client who gave change--he is one of the creators' finest(ragman Pete)---am a sucker for a sign stating "need beer"................................Peace Always

Anonymous said...

cont....would we know GOD if we saw him/her one the street??????? PEACE&LOVE

tsduff said...

Who can resist the begging puppy eyes of the pooch?

quilly said...

Today at the grocery store as I was loading my trunk a fellow came up and asked if he could have my emptied cart. I gave it to him.

Next he asked for something to eat. All I had purchased was lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, mushrooms and bananas. I gave him a banana. He thanked me and walked away.

As I was backing out of my spot, I saw him two cars down saying no thank you to a candy bar. He said, "I need real food."

I grabbed the ashtray and offered him the pennies, nickels and dimes within. He took them happily and headed across the lot toward McDonald's. So much for real food ....

I don't mind feeding them, but I seldom give cash to beggars. Today, for some reason, I just couldn't help myself.

Cooper said...

Love that piece.

Doug said...

Jamie Dawn, you're the best philanthropist since Rockefeller.

Terry, I have little trouble turning down a request from nephews and nieces. The beagle vexes me, though.

Quilly, I think McDonald's is real food. Bananas, less so.

Cooper, Ambrose Bierce is worth aspiring to. I'll leave it to you to start "Waking Dorothy" Parker.

Ariel the Thief said...

Beg, n, to pay with pride.

Ariel the Thief said...

*v

Doug said...

Excellent description, Ariel. And first class self-editing. This will be important with Weirsdo on vacation.

Ariel the Thief said...

;-)

weirsdo said...

I like Bierce's poem here.