Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Cockroach

(Inspired by my wife's habit, on Fridays in October, of providing ghastly Halloween treats and poetry in our kids' school lunches. On this day, she provided rubber cockroaches, and we had to come up with some poetry to match the theme. Lacking true creativity, I usually provide different words to poems our kids already knew. Here I update the Raven for my daughter, in the school lunchroom.)
Open here I flung the lunchbox, when, so quickly it did outfox,
In there was a stately Cockroach, of the saintly days, once happier.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But with mien of lord or lady, perched upon my Twinkie wrapper.
Perched upon this food-like substance, digging at my Twinkie wrapper,
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this tawny roach beguiling, my sad fancy into smiling,
By the buzzing stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though your back is made of rubber, thou," I said, "art sure no tubber!
Ghastly, creepy, and icky cockroach, wand'ring from the lunchroom store.
Tell me what the insect name is on thy lunchroom's Plutonian floor."
Quoth the cockroach, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
'Scaped from some unhappy master, whom unmerciful disaster
Taught him speech, not love nor laughter, till his songs one burden bore,
Till the words bereft of hope, so that melancholy burden bore
Of life, "No---nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil--prophet still, if roach or devil!
By the old school building 'round us--by these four walls we both adore--
Tell this soul with sorrow laden, if, within the distant snacktime,
It shall consume a chocolate iced cake, whom the angels name Ding Dong---
Clasp and covet a rare delicious iced cake, whom the angels name Ding Dong?
Quoth the cockroach, "Nevermore."

And the cockroach, never skitt'ring, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid Twinkie food-like substance, me wishing I had more;
And his 'tennae moving, sensing, like a demon's sword in fencing.
Flourescent lights o'er him dancing throws his shadow on the floor;
Like my hope (to eat that Ding Dong) is also dashed on the floor,
To be lifted---nevermore!

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