Author’s Note: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or so they all say. In the “olden days,” apprentice painters would copy the works of the great masters to learn how to do what they did. In this piece, I pay homage to Lewis Carroll by doing a parody of “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” His work is all in the public domain. I’m not real fond of rhyming, so some of the lines may not have his flow.
Smoke was rising from the fields, rising with such great haze.
It did its very best to take all things beautiful from our sight.
And this was odd because it happened during a torrential downpour.
The sun was shining weakly because he resented smoke and rain,
Thinking they had no right to work when his time to shine was on.
“It’s very judgmental of them both,” he said, “To keep me from getting my job done.”
The hearts were parched as parched could be, the puddles were muddy as mud.
You could not see the cloudy sky because the smoke was mighty and high.
No chickadees were twittering in the grass; the chickadees took time to fly.
The Hellcat and the Robot were dancing in the fields.
They caterwauled as loud as can be at humanity’s misery.
“If this could only all be healed,” they said. “How awe-inspiring it would be!”
“If seven angels with seven brooms swept the field for 11 years,
Do you think,” the Hellcat wailed, “That they could make it right?”
“I don’t know,” the Robot replied and shed an oil tear.
“O sheep, come and dance with us,” the Hellcat did screech.
“A pleasant waltz, a pleasant summer among the lilies of the field.
We cannot do with many more because our hands don’t reach.”
The eldest ram stared at them but never a word said he.
The eldest ram bowed his head and rattled his horns so short–
Meaning to show he did not choose to follow the Hellcat and the Robot.
Then 13 young ewes hurried up, all eager for consideration.
Their language was so ladylike, they had no makeup on, their clothes were always Sunday best,
And this was odd because we know they hadn’t any heart.
Thirteen others followed them, and 13 rams once more
Until dumb and slow they gathered at last infinitely more and more and more.
All meandering through the swaying grass and gathering to butt heads once more.
The Hellcat and the Robot did the Cotton Eyed Joe,
And then they rested on a log in the right place at the right time,
And all the litte sheep flocked to wait within the thyme.
“The time has come,” the Hellcat mewed, “To talk of so much stuff.
Of poems and words and lines of rhyme, of Christians and of heathen,
And why the culture doesn’t change, and whether butterflies change the seasons.”
“But wait a bit,” the sheep decried, “Before we can talk again.
For some of us are far too holy and all of us are blind.”
“No hurry,” said the Robot. They thanked them both for that.
“A bit of bread,” the Hellcat said, “Is what we chiefly need.
Quiet and some juice besides are most excellent in deed.
Now if you’re ready, my dear sheep, we can begin to feed.”
“But don’t feed us,” the sheep cried turning a little green.
After all our kindnesses that would be so socially inappropriate!”
“The morning’s broken gloriously,” the Hellcat mewed. “What do you think of this pew?”
“Thank you for coming! You seem so very nice.”
The Robot said nothing but poured us another cup.
“I wish you all could hear with your ears. I don’t like asking twice.”
“It just doesn’t seem kosher,” the Hellcat wailed, “To write them such a line,
After they’ve followed us too far and had to think so quick!”
The Robot said nothing but, “I think my grease is too thick.”
“I cry for you,” the Hellcat screeched. “I’m trying to empathize.”
With sighs and crude words, she selected the sheep most clonified,
Holding Wolf’s handkerchief to wipe her brow above her eyes.
“Oh, sheep,” said the Robot, “We’ve had such pleasant fun.
Shall we waltz again in thyme sometime?” But crickets deafened the silence.
Yet this was not unusual because they’d beaten by unfriending everyone.