Reginald's Peace Poem
Im writing a poem on Peace, said Reginald, emerging from a sweeping operation through a tin of mixed biscuits, in whose depths a macaroon or two might yet be lurking.
Something of the kind seems to have been attempted already, said the Other.
Oh, I know; but I may never have the chance again. Besides, Ive got a new fountain pen. I dont pretend to have gone on any very original lines; in writing about Peace the thing is to say what everybody else is saying, only to say it better. It begins with the usual ornithological emotion:
Heard the folk Vereeniginging,
Heard the shouting and the singing
Vereeniginging is good, but why widgeon?
Why not? Anything that winged westward would naturally begin with a w.
Need it wing westward?
The bird must go somewhere. You wouldnt have it hang around and look foolish. Then Ive brought in something about the heedless hartebeest galloping over the deserted veldt.
Of course you know its practically extinct in those regions?
I cant help that, it gallops so nicely. I make it have all sorts of unexpected yearnings:
Tear around and hinder traffic?
Of course youll say there would be no traffic worth bothering about on the bare and sun-scorched veldt, but theres no other word that rhymes with maffick.
Reginald considered. It might do, but Ive got a lot about angels later on. You must have angels in a Peace poem; I know dreadfully little about their habits.
They can do unexpected things, like the hartebeest.
Of course. Then I turn on London, the City of Dreadful Nocturnes, resonant with hymns of joy and thanksgiving:
Heard a voice for ever bidding
Much farewell to Dolly Gray;
Turning weary on his truckle
Bed he heard the honey-suckle
Lauded in apiarian lay.
Longfellow at his best wrote nothing like that.
I agree with you.
I wish you wouldnt. Ive a sweet temper, but I cant stand being agreed with. And Im so worried about the aasvogel.
Reginald stared dismally at the biscuit-tin, which now presented an unattractive array of rejected cracknels.
I believe, he murmured, if I could find a woman with an unsatisfied craving for cracknels, I should marry her.
What is the tragedy of the aasvogel? asked the Other sympathetically.
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