A Fool, A Foul Thing, A Distressful Lunatic

With webs of cool
     Chain mail and his stout heart, is not the gander
   Mocked, and ignorantly designated yet,
To play the fool?
       “Egyptian vultures clean as cherubim,
       All ivory and jet,” are they most foul?
And nature’s child,
    That most precocious water bird, the loon—why
    Is he foremost in the madman’s alphabet;
Why is he styled
    In folly’s catalogue, distressful lunatic?

From Observations (The Dial Press, Inc., 1924) by Marianne Moore. Copyright © The Dial Press, Inc. This poem is in the public domain.