Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Humane, Not Human

Poor William Thomas Jones, the Third,
Kept fourteen cats, a dog, a bird,
A tiny pig and just for sport,
A ten-foot snake – the poison sort.

Bill’s wife, the former Sarah Meede,
Was barren, which his friends agreed,
Explained his penchant to collect
More beasts than one might first expect.

For beast collection was his game
And William loved them all the same,
Except, of course, the dog named Jim,
Who had a special bond with him.

Since Bill and Sarah had no son
They treated Jim, the dog, as one.
Which, as most readers might surmise,
Would lead all three to their demise.

Though Jim would often disobey,
They spoiled him in every way:
Within their house, a room was kept
For only Jim, in which he slept.

The chef, the maid and butler, too
Were paid a higher rate than due,
To clean the sitting room or hall
Where Jim had answered nature’s call.

When Bill and Sarah’s family ate
Their canine son received a plate
Heaped high with food he would consume
With them, in their great dining room.

They often let their spoiled pup
Lap up a bit of beer or sup
From either’s glass when filled with tea,
With port or sherry or Chablis.

Their condescension toward the beast,
Which through the years had never ceased,
Was found at inquest that whereby
The Joneses’ world had gone awry.

For on the fourth, our Bill the Third,
To all the neighborhood sent word:
An invitation to enjoy
The fireworks he would deploy.

A crowd of hundreds soon amassed
To watch the bursts and hear the blast
Of Chinese Dragons of the sort
That make a violent report.

Amidst the show the spoiled brute
Was wandering in hot pursuit
Of unattended beer and scotch,
That thoughtless guests forgot to watch.

When Jim was finally full of beer
And scotch, he then began to peer
About the tables for the things
The guests had left, like onion rings.

The onion rings were batter-fried
And did not sit so well inside
The coddled little canine breed
With tendencies to overfeed.

What happened next I will refrain
Describing in detail too plain,
But can confirm a guest won’t use
Again, her Nike running shoes.

The guest, who will in August be
A feisty lass of ninety-three,
Unleashed a brutal coup de main
With both her handbag and her cane.

At which the object of her stick,
Who was inside a little sick
And smarting on his bottom side,
Retreated to his master’s side.

Retreated to, as I reflect,
Does not describe the true effect
The punished puppy had on Bill:
He knocked his master down the hill.

But not before poor William’s knee
Had changed a blast’s trajectory,
And sent the volatile barrage
On rapid course for his garage.

The subsequent inferno spread
To both the house and to the shed,
Which left the Joneses poor and grim
And angry with that mutt named Jim.

Adjusters came from miles around
To see destruction so profound,
And to a man denied the claim –
For on the dog they laid the blame.

And now the dog is safely caged
Outside, where once the fire raged,
And gets to eat but puppy chow:
That’s all his master will allow.

The lesson we should all retain:
We ought to be to beasts humane;
For if we treat the brutes as sons
We’ll end up as the sorry ones.

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