Peanuts by Charles Schulz
"Here we languish, a bunch of poor scholars,
Battered by extremes of hunger and cold.
Out of work, our only joy is poetry:
Scribble, scribble, we wear out our brains.
Who will read the works of such men?
On that point you can save your sighs.
We could inscribe our poems on biscuits
And homeless dogs wouldn't deign to nibble."
- from "Cold Mountainby Han Shan, Translation by Burton Watson
I've posted this classic poem by Han Shan on FTLO before, early in the year. It is a personal favorite. This morning when I saw this classic Peanuts reprint in the Los Angeles Times, I knew they belonged together. Did Charles Schulz, I wonder, ever read the Cold Mountain poems? Or is this word-devouring dog dilemma so universal that it must pop up ever-fresh in our experience?
Reading this strip carefully, I am saddened by the way the precocious young Rerun is already preparing lame excuses for the inevitable failures to come, what Leonard Cohen called his "invincible defeat". Rerun already knows that suffering is what's in store for him. And Snoopy is making plans to take full advantage of Rerun's dog-feeding dodge!