The Village Crapsmith

(to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

by Gerald George

LISTEN my children and you shall hear,
pounding down out of yesteryear,
clippity clippity clippity clop,
'til it seems impossible to stop
--won't someone still these galloping feet?!
This maddening line is a narrow street
down which comes bursting the mindless steed
--grab his bridle! Hold though he bleed!
For he must be stopped or we'll all go mad,
or we'll all go mad, or we'll all -- we'll all
--got him!! Now that takes care of Paul.

But on the shores of Gitche Gumee
of the shining Big-Sea-Water,
what to do with Hiawatha?
And the maiden Minnehaha?
And the idiot Pau-Keewis?
And the Wawbeek and the Wabun?
And the Najow and the Wudjoo?
And the YA-da-Da-da-Do-doo?
And the--oh god--can we stand it
any longer? We must stop it,
we must rise and tomahawk it
--whack!
Whew, at last, that does for that.

However,
this is the forest primeval, the murmuring pines and the hemlock
get us going again with still another obsession,
another merciless, weird, and relentlessly rigid rhythm.
Alden, the comely the youthful, having pursued Priscilla,
why could not Miles Standish, hot-headed puritan captain,
have bolted up to Acadie, reconquered the damn village,
seduced Evangeline, put an end to the to-ing and fro-ing.
spared her a long love-quest, and us another long poem?

Lives of great men all remind us
we can make our lives sublime,
and departing leave behind us
something better than bad rhyme.

(See Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.)

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