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Ballad Of The Long-Ago Children
LH ( / London)

Ballad Of The Long-Ago Children

Noah saw it coming.
Repent he cried, repent!
But it was just like humming
And did not make a dent
In anyone’s attention;
In fact the first to see
The strangely built invention
Were children on a spree.

When they had finished teasing
And slinging lumps of mud,
They found the boat quite pleasing
And asked, So what’s a flood?
The son of Noah said “Listen,
The drips will start and then
They won’t have time to glisten,
They’ll flow into the glen

And soon the showers faster
Than any other spring
Will turn quite fierce and plaster
The fields of rye again,
By which time all the farmers
Will have no time to dig,
They’ll yell “The gods will harm us
If Noah don’t stop his jig! ”

“The rain will turn to torrents
And wash away canals;
The hills will slide and warrants
From lawyers won’t save the gals
And boys or all the babies,
Their diapers washed away -
And then come rats with rabies
And cows and gods of clay

And pots of soup and lentils
All tumbling down the hills
And then the sliding gentiles
Whose old survival skills
Won’t help their aging mamas
As water rages round
Their roofless homes with dramas
Sucked up without a sound.

“The water will rise higher
Until the trees are drowned
And soon the lofty spire
And then the hilly ground,
Where you could see guys waving
In case a passing god
Saw they were not just raving -
They looked to him quite odd,

And so he made a movie
And wrote a short report
Which all the gods thought groovy
And watched instead of sport.
But all the land was water
And all the water vast
While every son and daughter
Was buried in the past.”

Then Shem went in to dinner
With parents, siblings and
A host of beasts much thinner,
As Noah’s brain had planned
To keep them crammed together
Until the storm would stop;
The forty-day long weather
Would never make them flop.

The children ran home crying
And told their parents what
Shem said, but “He was lying
Or else he’s smoked some pot, ”
They said, and “You’re so silly!
Our levees are quite strong
And we are high and hilly
So what could go so wrong?

“We know our local weather
We know our local dykes,
We checked them once together
The way the mayor likes.
But run along, we’re busy,
There’s money to be made,
So don’t you cause a tizzy,
This rumor will soon fade.”

The children thought their city
Was all that one could want;
They felt a tinge of pity
For Shem down in his punt.
They told some scary stories
To laugh themselves to bed
And thought their exploits glories
While Shem was daft instead.

By morning they woke crying,
The rain was pouring down…
They ran past donkeys dying
And fish all over town;
They waded through the gullies
And swam up to the Ark
But Noah had downed the scullies
And drifted from the park.

Their neighbors followed after
All yelling at the mayor -
No more the sound of laughter
But only sound of prayer,
Until the only viewers
Were goddesses and gods
All drinking from their ewers
And playing tricks with rods.

They wondered why the silence?
And thought Man had been cool,
But shrugged and said, “Well violence
Was never quite the tool
For men to use as we do,
We really should have taught
Them better, now we’ll redo
The way they’ll not be caught

Next time that there are troubles
They really can’t control;
We’ll reprint them as doubles,
And Sense will be their goal.
Now who will try to teach them? ”
But no god raised his hand,
So no Sense can yet reach them
On any living land.

Linda Hepner
9.6.05

User Rating: 5,0 / 5 ( 4 votes ) 3

Comments (3)

I would like to back up Raynette's comment on your mastery of short lines and nifty rhymes in a narrative piece of writing. I've enjoyed this, Lind. With warmth, Gina.
....very skillful, very clever..
Linda, this is truly a remarkable poem. My hope is that everyone will stick with it to the end so that they can see what it really is all about. It is hard to write a serious poem with short lines and rhymes, but you have done it...'serious humor' I call it. Well done. Raynette