This half-remembered poem, from what I can recall, was written by someone who worked for the New Statesman or the Spectator in the 1970s.

The opening part is:

They say consider the ant O thou sluggard, go to its ways and be wise

Well, I've considered the ant and I'm buggered why it thinks it's as good as us guys

I'd rather consider the lily...

What is the rest?

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    Apr 8, 2023 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


‘Go to the ant’ by Stanley J. Sharpless:

‘Go to the ant, thou sluggard;
Consider her ways, and be wise,’
Well, I’ve been to the ant, and I’m buggered
If I think it’s one up on us guys;
All that rushing about is damn silly,
(And uneconomic, I bet),
I'd rather consider the lily,
It's got Solomon beat—and no sweat.

Stanley J. Sharpless (1977). ‘Go to the ant’. In The New Statesman, 30 September 1977. In Kingsley Amis, ed. (1978), The New Oxford Book of English Light Verse, Oxford University Press, p. 278.

The first two lines quote Proverbs 6:6 in the Authorized Version; according to Proverbs 1:1 this is one of the “proverbs of Solomon”. The last two lines are an allusion to Matthew 6:28: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.”

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