If Walt Whitman Had Written Humpty Dumpty
By Frank Jacobs
O Humpty! O Humpty! You’ve had a fearful spill,
You’ve tumbled from the stoney height,
your’re lying cold and still;
Your shell is cracked, your yolk runs out,
your breath is faint and wheezy;
You landed as a scambled egg, instead of over easy;
The king has sent his steeds and men
To mend you if they can;
I pray that they did not forget
To bring a frying pan.
‘Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall:
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty in his place again.‘
‘That last line is much too long for the poetry,’ she added, almost out loud, forgetting that Humpty Dumpty would hear her.
‘Don’t stand chattering to yourself like that,’ Humpty Dumpty said, looking at her for the first time, ‘but tell me your name and your business.’
‘My name is Alice, but —’
‘It’s a stupid name enough!’ Humpty Dumpty interrupted impatiently. ‘What does it mean?’
‘Must a name mean something?’ Alice asked doubtfully.
‘Of course it must,’ Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh: ‘my name means the shape I am — and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost.’
‘Why do you sit out here all alone?’ said Alice, not wishing to begin an argument.
‘Why, because there’s nobody with me!’ cried Humpty Dumpty. ‘Did you think I didn’t know the answer to that? Ask another.’
‘Don’t you think you’d be safer down on the ground?’ Alice went on, not with any idea of making another riddle, but simply in her good-natured anxiety for the queer creature. ‘That wall is so very narrow!’
‘What tremendously easy riddles you ask!’ Humpty Dumpty growled out. ‘Of course I don’t think so! Why, if ever I did fall off — which there’s no chance of — but if I did —’ Here he pursed up his lips, and looked so solemn and grand that Alice could hardly help laughing. ‘IfI did fall,’ he went on, ‘the King has promised me — ah, you may turn pale, if you like! You didn’t think I was going to say that, did you? The King has promised me — with his very own mouth — to — to —’
‘To send all his horses and all his men,’ Alice interrupted, rather unwisely.
‘Now I declare that’s too bad!’ Humpty Dumpty cried, breaking into a sudden passion. ‘You’ve been listening at doors — and behind trees — and down chimneys — or you couldn’t have known it!’
The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939), Saturday 5 May 1923,
An Australian poem.
The sun was hot already – it was only 8 o’clock
The cocky took off in his Ute, to go and check his stock.
He drove around the paddocks checking wethers, ewes and lambs,
The float valves in the water troughs, the windmills on the dams.
He stopped and turned a windmill on to fill a water tank
And saw a ewe down in the dam, a few yards from the bank.
“Typical bloody sheep,” he thought, “they’ve got no common sense,
“They won’t go through a gateway but they’ll jump a bloody fence.”
The ewe was stuck down in the mud, he knew without a doubt
She’d stay there ’til she carked it if he didn’t get her out.
But when he reached the water’s edge, the startled ewe broke free
And in her haste to get away, began a swimming spree.
He reckoned once her fleece was wet, the weight would drag her down
If he didn’t rescue her, the stupid sod would drown.
Her style was unimpressive, her survival chances slim
He saw no other option, he would have to take a swim.
He peeled his shirt and singlet off, his trousers, boots and socks
And as he couldn’t stand wet clothes, he also shed his jocks.
He jumped into the water and away that cocky swam
He caught up with her, somewhere near the middle of the dam.
The ewe was quite evasive, she kept giving him the slip
He tried to grab her sodden fleece but couldn’t get a grip.
At last he got her to the bank and stopped to catch his breath
She showed him little gratitude for saving her from death.
She took off like a Bondi tram around the other side
He swore next time he caught that ewe he’d hang her bloody hide.
Then round and round the dam they ran, although he felt quite puffed
He still thought he could run her down, she must be nearly stuffed.
The local stock rep came along, to pay a call that day.
He knew this bloke was on his own, his wife had gone away
He didn’t really think he’d get fresh scones for morning tea
But nor was he prepared for what he was about to see.
He rubbed his eyes in disbelief at what came into view
For running down the catchment came this frantic-looking ewe.
And on her heels in hot pursuit and wearing not a stitch
The farmer yelling wildly “Come back here, you lousy bitch!”
The stock rep didn’t hang around, he took off in his car
The cocky’s reputation has been damaged near and far
So bear in mind the Work Safe rule when next you check your flocks
Spot the hazard, assess the risk, and always wear your jocks!
As dead as a herring. A herring is said to die immediately after it is taken out of its element, the water ; and that it dies very suddenly myself can witness : so likewise do pilchards, shads, and the rest of that tribe. — R.
Deeds are fruits, words are only leaves.
spits of conversation
splatter against brown brick
slowly past song
a bottle curved fondly
into clawed arthritic shape
wasted and spare
as autumn passing
a winter’s sentence
in a bare concrete cell
I heard you screech
slurred defiance back at smug
meet conspiracy with non-cooperation
a glaring silence eloquent
but still they took you
heart country life and mind
all gone now
she shuffles watches
liquid-memory images dissolve
in the bottom of emptiness
©Jennifer A Martiniello
Old Auntie was published in the ASA Journal (1997).
Cha nee tra ta’n cheyrrey gee yn ouw to cheet r’ee.
“It is not when the sheep eats the march-penny it tells a tale”
(literally, “it comes to her”)-
i.e., The result of evil-doing is not always apparent at first.
The ouw is a slow poison.
Meyek olenkaina ilala lenyena
The elephant does not get tired of its tusks
Meaning: one carries his burden without flinching.
“In his dream, George Stetchkin was in the dock at the Central Criminal Court, accused of the murder of nine million innocent brain cells. The usher was showing the jury the alleged murder weapon, an empty Bison Brand vodka bottle. Then the judge glared at him over the rims of his spectacles and sentenced him to the worst hangover of his life.”
― Tom Holt, Blonde Bombshell
“The pupil of a goat’s eye is elongate like a cat’s, but if you look closely you’ll see that it’s in the horizontal position, and if you look closer still you’ll see that it’s less gracefully shaped, more of a ragged slot, dirty yellow. And you’ll see that the white of a goat’s eye is all black.”
― Eugene Marten
― Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures
Be studious in your profession, and you will be learned. Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich. Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy. Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy. At least you will, by such conduct, stand the best chance for such consequences.
“She meant I was hungover. I had been slaughtered, legless, trolleyed, slashed, shredded, plastered, polluted, pissed. I thought, I do love my country’s relationship with alcohol. How would I ever exist in the United States? I suppose I would have grief counselling instead. ”
― Peter Carey, The Chemistry of Tears
― Lil Wayne
I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the centre grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy.
Black Elk’s Vision
“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to appellation. ”
― George Washington
“Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear … Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it end in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue on the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and in the love of others which it will procure for you.”
― Thomas Jefferson