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Written by Stephen Cushman, Robert C. Taylor Professor of English, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences


The sky has never won a prize.
The clouds have no careers.
The rainbow doesn’t say  my work,
thank goodness.

The rock in the creek’s not so productive.
The mud on the bank’s not too pragmatic.
There’s nothing useful in the noise
the wind makes in the trees.

Buck up now, my fellow superfluity,
and let’s both be of that worthless ilk,
self-indulgent as shooting stars,
self-absorbed as sunsets.

Who cares if we’re inconsequential?
At least we can revel, two good-for-nothings,
in our irrelevance; at least come and make
no difference with me.


Stephen Cushman, Riffraff (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2011)