One Through Twelve, Inclusive

One plus two is three, and four
Plus five is nine. Who cares? Not I.
But take eleven, add ten more,
Drop eight, then seven, stop there. Why?
The figure in your head should be
Exactly half the total of
The sum of both the sums that we
Blew off in those first lines above.



It’s difficult to overstate
How much I don’t believe in Fate.
If que sera, sera’s legit,
Why even try to mess with it?
If it’s been written that I’ll write
This verse, should I just say good-night
Right now, and let these last lines go?
They’ll be there by tomorrow, no?
If Kismet dictates, ’twill be done
Though I write forty lines, or none!
And yet, I’m confident that I
Can miss a deadline if I try,
Or, rather, don’t try. I’ve a record
Leniently described as “checkered”
When it comes to turning in
Reports on time. If I begin
To write the day a paper’s due,
Look up: The moon is likely blue.
To trust in Fate to do the work
On my behalf, I’d be a jerk.
(Which may well be the case; if so,
It’s all the fault of Fate, you know.)
“The Moving Finger writes”–that’s me.
Whose hand’s the Finger on? We’ll see.

Wee George

The cherry tree he’d barely felled,
Not yet upon himself he’d telled
(Nor even yet supposed he should,
For what’s a hatchet cut, but wood?),
When Georgie W., with glee,
Cried, “I’m a lumber– jeez! My knee!”
(To clarify, the glee ran dry
At jeez.) Then George began to cry
For realsies, ’cause his kneecap hurt
Like splintered gums! “You little squirt,”
Cried Georgie (in more ways than one),
“Your kneecap-biting days are done!”
For there, beside the fallen sapling,
George had spied a tiny chapling,
Gnomish, with protruding teeth
Embedded in the flesh beneath
The would-be woodsman’s bleeding knee.
“Why hast thou sunk thy teeth in me?!?”
With dignity beyond his size,
The small assailant raised his eyes
Until they met the pain in George’s.
“My, oh, my. Your eyes are gorgeous!”
“What?” said George, “My eyes? My leg!
Let go! I’ll crack you like an egg!”
He clenched his hatchet in his fist,
Distended veins beneath his wrist,
And swore an earthy farmer’s curse
(Like earthmen crawl, but much, much worse).
The Georgivore, his twin incisors
Dripping like inverted geysers
Gushing blood instead of steam,
Said, “Settle down. I’m just a dream
You’re having ’cause you’re wracked with guilt
About that tree. No blood’s been spilt!
No dwarfish biter of patella
Has attacked you. Listen, fella,
Here’s the mystic takeaway:
You cannot tell a lie. Okay?
When Father Washington inquires,
Tell the truth, ’cause trust me, liars
Who deny complicity
In herbicide won’t see D.C.
Or northwest states get named for them.
And President? From none to slim
Extend the odds in politics
For men mendacious in re sticks!”
Then George, still standing up, awoke,
Laid down his tiny axe, and spoke
In voice stentorian and grave:
“I’ve learnt too late this tree to save,
But may a munchkin bite my thigh
If ever I should tell a lie!”
And that’s the long and short of it:
George Washington was never bit
Again by men about the knees.
Soldier. Statesman. Friend to Trees.