The Expert And The Apricot
The orchardist, with hope aglow,
Sets out a crop of fruit to grow
And sell it wisely where he can,
Like any other business man;
And he strives to make a contract fair and free.
But, 'Fie!' exclaims the Government,
'Have we not experts heaven-sent
Who, by their schemes an shrewd advice,
Will win you twice the market price?'
(And the bloom begins to burgeon on the tree.)
Then, lo, with docket and with file,
The studious experts toy the while.
With rain and sun, the season goes,
The blossom falls, the fruit it grows
As bureaucrats debate and disagree.
They look up section forty-two
And regulation Seven Q
All eagerly upon the scent
Of written rule and precedent.
(And the apricot is hardening on the tree.)
The orchardist toils in the sun;
He prunes and delves; and, one by one
The trees are sprayed with Parls Green,
Or, mayhap, soap or kerosene,
Or some vile mixture dear to chemistry.
Meantime, a sale the experts seek,
Not hurriedly, all in a week,
But in a manner dignified,
As fits such men of knowledge wide.
(And the apricot is ripening on the tree.)
Gravely they ponder this and that,
While buyers wait upon the mat;
And, as the smiling autumn comes,
They chew their pens and suck their thumbs.
And argue over Section Ninety D,
And while the harried orchardist
Grieves for the market that he missed.
They suddenly wake up and say:
'We have agreed at last! Hooray!'
(But the apricot is rotting 'neath the tree.)