The Evolution of Mankind

Once did fellows squat in very trees,

ill-faced and with hair galore.

Then out the forest primeval they were teased

and to pave and mount the world were pleased,

even to the thirtieth floor.


There sat they now, from fleas flown,

in rooms with central heat.

There sit they now on the telephone.

And there prevails the very same tone

as ages since in trees.


They listen wide. They see afar.

They are at one with the universe.

They clean their teeth. They whiff new air.

Earth is now a cultured star

with a great deal of waterworks.


They lob their correspondence through a reed.

They hunt and cast out microbes.

They give nature the comfort it needs.

They fly to the sky where nothing impedes

and stay two weeks like globes.


What’s left behind when they digest

makes cotton wadding neat.

They split the atom. They heal incest.

And by stylistic analysis the best,

find Caesar had flat feet.


And so they have with head and mouth

brought mankind into futurescapes.

Yet despite all this to tout

when looked at in the light no doubt

they’re still the same old apes.


Erich Kästner