Departmental Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


An ant on the tableclothA
Ran into a dormant mothA
Of many times his sizeB
He showed not the least surpriseB
His business wasn't with suchC
He gave it scarcely a touchC
And was off on his duty runD
Yet if he encountered oneD
Of the hive's enquiry squadE
Whose work is to find out GodE
And the nature of time and spaceF
He would put him onto the caseF
Ants are a curious raceF
One crossing with hurried treadG
The body of one of their deadG
Isn't given a moment's arrestH
Seems not even impressedH
But he no doubt reports to anyI
With whom he crosses antennaeI
And they no doubt reportJ
To the higher up at courtJ
Then word goes forth in FormicK
'Death's come to Jerry McCormicK
Our selfless forager JerryI
Will the special JanizaryI
Whose office it is to buryI
The dead of the commissaryI
Go bring him home to his peopleL
Lay him in state on a sepalL
Wrap him for shroud in a petalL
Embalm him with ichor of nettleL
This is the word of your Queen 'M
And presently on the sceneN
Appears a solemn morticianD
And taking formal positionD
With feelers calmly atwiddleL
Seizes the dead by the middleL
And heaving him high in airI
Carries him out of thereI
No one stands round to stareI
It is nobody else's affairI
It couldn't be called ungentleL
But how thoroughly departmentalL

Robert Frost


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