Works in the Herald 1937

It has been announced that, because of the armament race, there is a world shortage in steel, and on that account industy will have to be rationed.

Tho' I own I have no adequate proofs
Of this queer tale of the quaint old Goophs --
   The Goophs who dwelt in the land of Guph --
   Still, I think it's a credible tale enough
When applied to Goophs; tho' it's realised
That it couldn't occur to the civilised,
   Sane men like us, for it's quite absurd,
   And the silliest tale that ever you heard.
To us, 'tis a fantasy vain.  But then,
Of course, we're superior, normal men.

Now a peaceful Gooph, when a-stroll one day,
Looked over a fence in a casual way;
   And realised he was staring hard
   At a pile of stones in a neighbor's yard.
"Now what," thought he, "are the stones there for?"
Then he suddenly shouted, "My, this means war!
   That pile in there is the very stuff
   We use for war in the land of Guph!"
And from that day forth his strength was spent
In gathering stones for armament.

Now, the Goophs who heard him were sore afright,
And the news spread forth in a single night.
   Wild rumors grew, till the land was rife
   With tales of terror and coming strife;
And every Gooph hied forth in haste
To gather him stones from wood and waste,
   From the hills afar and fields near by,
   Till the price of stones went up sky high.
And they said, "War's madness!  It can't make sense.
But a Gooph must look to his self-defence."

Commerce languished; production waned;
Goophish relations grew co1d and strained;
   And there wasn't a stone in Guph at all
   To build a house, or a church, or a wall.
Each sat on his pile in his own backyard
And talked and shouted and argued hard,
   Of nations and factions in "isms" and schools.
   (There is never a doubt of it, Goophs were fools).
Then someone foolishly heaved a rock;
And their world blew up with a horrible shock.

Then their costly stones they flung to the air
With great abandon and little care --
   These stones they valued, they cast them about
   Till a number of Goophs were knocked right out.
And the land of Guph grew loud with groans;
And the end of it all was a litter of stones.
   And nobody knew what they started it for,
   And nobody profited.  Still, 'twas war,
Mere Guphic insanity, Goophish fuss,
And, of course, it couldn't occur to us.

Herald, 15 March 1937, p6
Random Verse edited by Margaret Herron, 1952

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-11