They climbed the trees . . . As was told before,
The Glugs climbed trees in the days of yore,
   When the oldes tree in the land to-day
   Was a tender little seedling - Nay,
This climbing habit was old, so old
That even the cheeses could not have told
   When the past Glug people first began
   To give their lives to the climbing plan.
           And the legend ran
   That the art was old as the mind of man.

And even the mountains old and hoar, And the billows that broke on Gosh's shore Since the far-off neolithic night, All knew the Glugs quite well by sight. And they tell of a perfectly easy way: For yesterday's Glug is the Glug of to-day. And they climb the trees when the thunder rolls, To solemnly salve their shop-worn souls. For they fear the coals That threaten to frizzle their shop-worn souls.
They climbed the trees. 'Tis a bootless task To say so over again, or ask The cause of it all, or the reason why They never felt happier up on high. For Joi asked why; and Joi was a fool, And never a Glug of the fine old school With fixed opinions and Sunday clothes, And the habit of looking beyond its nose, And treating foes With the calm contempt of the One Who Knows.
And every spider who heaves a line And trusts to his luck when the day is fine, Or reckless swings from an awful height, He knows the Glugs quite well by sight. "You can never mistake them," he will say; "For they always act in a Gluglike way. And they climb the trees when the glass points fair, With circumspection and proper care, For they fear to tear The very expensive clothes they wear."
But Joi was a Glug with a twisted mind Of the nasty, meditative kind. He'd meditate on the modes of Gosh, And dared to muse on the acts of Splosh; He dared to speak, and, worse than that, He spoke out loud, and he said it flat. "Why climb?" said he. "When you reach the top There's nowhere to go, and you have to stop, Unless you drop. And the higher you are the worse you flop."
And every cricket that chirps at eve, And scoffs at the folly of fools who grieve, And the furtive mice who revel at night, All know the Glugs quite well by sight. For, "Why," they say, " in the land of Gosh There is no one else who will bow to Splosh. And they climb the trees when the rain pelts down And feeds the gutters that thread the town; For they fear to drown, When floods are frothy and waters brown."
Said the Glug called Joi, "This climbing trees Is a foolish art, and things like these Cause much distress in the land of Gosh. Let's stay on the ground and kill King Splosh!" But Splosh, the king, he smiled a smile, And beckoned once to his hangman, Guile, Who climbed a tree when the weather was calm; And they hanged poor Joi on a Snufflebust Palm; Then they sang a psalm, Did those pious Glugs 'neath the Snufflebust Palm.
And every bee that kisses a flow'r, And every blossom, born for an hour, And every bird on its gladsome flight, All know the Glugs quite well by sight. For they say, "'Tis a simple test we've got: If you know one Glug, why, you know the lot!" So, they climbed a tree in the bourgeoning Spring, And they hanged poor Joi with some second-hand string. 'Tis a horrible thing To be hanged by Glugs with second-hand string.
Then Splosh, the king, rose up and said, "It's not polite; but he's safer dead. And there's not much room in the land of Gosh For a Glug named Joi and a king called Splosh!" And every Glug flung high his hat, And cried, "We're Glugs! and you can't change that!" So they climbed the trees, since the weather was cold, While the brazen bell of the city tolled And tolled, and told The fate of a Glug who was over-bold.
And every cloud that sails the blue, And every dancing sunbeam too, And every sparkling dewdrop bright All know the Glugs quite well by sight. "We tell," say they, "by a simple test; For any old Glug is like the rest. And they climb the trees when there's weather about, In a general way, as a cure for gout; Tho' some folks doubt If the climbing habit is good for gout."
So Joi was hanged, and his race was run, And the Glugs were tickled with what they'd done. And, after that, if a day should come When a Glug felt extra specially glum, He'd call his children around his knee, And tell that tale with a chuckle of glee. And should a little Glug girl or boy See naught of a joke in the fate of Joi, Then he'd employ Stern measures with such little girl or boy.
But every dawn that paints the sky, And every splendid noontide high, All know the Glugs so well, so well. 'Tis an easy matter, and plain to tell. For, lacking wit, with a candour smug, A Glug will boast that he is a Glug. And they climb the trees, if it shines or rains, To settle the squirming in their brains, And the darting pains That are caused by rushing and catching trains.

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002