Judi Sutherland: Diogenes' Landlord

A philospher is living in my barrel
an ancient Greek, to judge by his apparel.
With my back turned for a minute
he has taken refuge in it
and treats it like a private study carrel.

He says he's of the Cynical persuasion
and worldly goods don't help our situation
so he'd really like to try it
if I'd supply a balanced diet
and empty out this bucket, on occasion.

A Stoic would be more concerned with virtue;
with perfect freedom, nothing much can hurt you.
But he's as miserable as sin
in this barrel that he's in;
in such living quarters, humour can desert you.

If only he would follow Epicurus
who believed the simple things in life should lure us,
he'd give up this casky hell
and find a better place to dwell.
As with wine, some barrel-living should mature us.