There is a face I know too well,
A face I dread to see,
So vain it is, so eloquent
Of all futility.
It is a human face that hides
A monkey soul within,
That bangs about, that beats a gong,
That makes a horrid din.
Sometimes the monkey soul will sprawl
Athwart the human eyes,
And peering forth, will flesh its pads,
And utter social lies.
So wretched is this face, so vain,
So empty and forlorn,
You well may say that better far
This face had not been born.
Stevie Smith, “The Face” from New Selected Poems. Copyright © 1972 by Stevie Smith. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.
Source: The New Selected Poems of Stevie Smith
(New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1998)