Sunday, November 21, 2010


Things were getting a bit serious here on Measure of Doubt, so I thought I'd inject a measure of levity with a blast-from-the-past, a peek into the mind of your author at age 15 (nearly 16), by posting my winning entry in the 1986 A.B. Lucas Secondary School Bad Poetry Contest. (A portrait of the artist as a young man is on the left.) All hail Mr. Watson, our enormously creative and patient Grade 11 Enriched English teacher.

Rabid Rabbits, Or How Cam the Cannibal Learned to Make Rabbit Stew of Squirrels

Pretty soon there will be lots of rabbits around
Due to their natural multiplicative predilections
(That's how much they screw around
When showing their affections.)

Like a small furry floppy-eared herbivore
Rabbits boldly go where no man has gone before
Except other small furry floppy-eared herbivores
Which aren't really men anyway come to think of it

Clubbing a rabbit to death
Mercilessly with a carrot
The hunter shows his true colours
The way grapes do when you peel off the skin

Fortunately a hunting warden
Arrives to save the day
And clubs the hunter to death
With a baby seal
And eats him up, like breaded veal

It's not so bad being a cannibal
A pound of flesh
Provides more essential vitamins
Than good old fashioned oatmeal

Suddenly – from the door
Comes a loud banging noise
Rabbits lined up four by four
Like great big soldiers, only small like toys

Armed with guns and bombs and tanks and thermonuclear fusion weapons
The rabbits charge
Like a bull at the sight of a red flag
Like a football player at the sound of "hut"
Like a hell of a lot of rabbits trying to get inside a house

The warden makes a run for it
A brook is in his way
It's one small step for a man
But one hell of a leap for a bunny rabbit
This was his chance to get away!

Though he runs faster than a speeding bullet
With the agility of a Chinese acrobat
With the stealth of a real quiet person
Soon the rabbits are upon him

But here's a blessing in disguise!
These rabbits are really squirrels inside!
"Why go after me anyway? I saved you from
that hunter, just today!"

"True," at last, the squirrels confess
"But what's up, doc? With this puzzling mess:
How many roads must a man walk down?
Until he feels the thrill of victory?
Or the agony of the feet?"


Alas, so much high school writing was lost when my Commodore 64 and all its floppy disks went the way of yesterday's newspaper — literally into the garbage — when my parents moved in 1995. Whole volumes of poetry, short stories, a radio play, "movie" screenplays, scraps of unfinished novels, countless own personal Library of Alexandria, hauled to the curb with empty bottles of Cheez Whiz and old copies of National Geographic. A little part of me dies to think of it.

Longtime friends can confirm that, for the same course for which I composed the Award Winning Bad Poem above, I wrote a full-length novel as some sort of project. I have no idea why I went to such extremes, though I should note that I was not the only one: my friend Dave Seguin wrote a longer and much better novel the same year. Looking back, it was fun, and certainly a more imaginative use of a teenage brain than the average 15 hour-per-week foray into hyper-violent video gaming that is the norm for male teenagers today. (And they wonder why boys are falling behind in school.)

Anyway, last week, I happened across the novel while searching for this poem. Having spent an hour or so with it,
I can confirm the following: 1) It is so very bad that no power on this earth can compel me to show so much as a single sentence of it ever again. 2) It is slightly better than Twilight. 3) I received a mark of 85. Can I say that again? I received a mark of 85. For a freaking novel I wrote in grade 11. Today parents call to complain if their kids get below 90 for successfully completing a text message while driving. 4) The teacher’s comments were brief but, I recall, filled me with joy. “A Michael J. Fox screenplay for sure.”

Well, it was the Eighties.


Graham Broad said...

An early update,
Whistles through the poplars!
The monkey eats fruit.

Shirley said...

Thanks for the poem G - brought back a lot of memories. :)
I still have some of your writing from back then!

gwarder said...

I actually remember parts of that...along with some of your fractured English (Lightening forked through the sky like a hot knave through buttocks!). This summer when packing, I came across a script for "The Proposed Movie" with such scenes as "It came from Magnetawon, in 3D." It's all in hard copy which of course lasts longer than the Commodore 64. I'll pass it along.