Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

a little poem for the children

“How Prince Bert, in his Wheelchair, Saved the Kingdom From a Giant Spider”

Once upon a time, in a land far away
Three princes attempted to save the day
But before I tell you which one achieved victory
Let me tell you about these princes, three

Prince Wayne, the pain, played mean games
He liked to open every window in the rain
He startled the servants while they were asleep
He spit in folks’ hair, made princesses weep

Prince Stu, number two, was very smart
He played chess with grandpa, and drew fine art
He built neat devices to help the queen clean
In math, science, and history, he was an answer machine

Prince Bert, the hurt, once fell from a tree
And that was quite an emergency
Despite fairy doctors and a goblin nurse
Bert’s legs never worked, and this was his curse:

He could not shake a leg or wiggle his toes
He could not go skating when the moat froze
He could not jump on the swings or on the slides
Bert rolled in a chair with wheels on each side

Bert lived with his family in a big castle,
And did his best despite all the hassles
For living your life in a chair takes practice
To get good at the things people take for granted

Bert always rolled fast away from his brother Wayne
Wayne liked to tie the wheelchair to the huge royal crane
Bert tried to get Stu to play cars and trains
But Stu loved extra homework so much, he did Wayne’s

So Bert often rolled alone by the castle walls
He was stuck sitting down, so he couldn’t see at all
Over those big, giant, boring, dumb, old walls
Bert wasn’t happy, and his life was sure dull

Then this giant spider crawled in from the sea
And a terrible sight with eight big eyes was he
Eight big, long legs, each as tall as a building
And a big, hungry body with a giant tummy rumbling

A guard pushed the very loudest alarm
And the king on his stallion emerged well-armed
With all of his soldiers and all of his men
To force the giant spider out of their kingdom

Despite all the efforts of all the king’s men
The spider wrapped a web around all of them
Then the spider announced to the citizenry
The things that he wanted from them for free

“I’m so very hungry, and my food is so small,
I can’t catch enough to make my belly full!
Bake me bug cookies and tasty bug treats
or else I will crush you with all my eight feet!”

And every kitchen and mommy did their part
Cockroach-chip cookies and slimy snail tarts
The spider gobbled up disgusting fruit-fly-cakes
He even devoured shoe fly pies they had baked

The king, trapped in the web, cried out to his sons
“Boys, save the kingdom from this oversized bum!
The hungry spider will eat up every insect,
And then the birds and frogs, hungry, will defect!”

Prince Wayne, the pain, decided to go first
He forced along six princesses by threatening the worst
Together they took seven extra-long goose feathers
To tickle the spider’s feet until his sides burst

Alas had Wayne studied and done his homework
His plan might have been better, or actually worked!
Prince Wayne did not know that spiders have eight feet
So the spider merely raised up seven feet out of reach

While standing on one toe, the spider looked below
And splashed Wayne and the princesses a mighty blow
Of icky, gooey, globby, spider web on their heads
Then the giant spider tied them firm in their beds

With Prince Wayne defeated, the people lost hope
The spider was so happy that he had to gloat
The spider announced to all of the citizenry
The things that he wanted from them for free

“I’m so very hungry, and my food is so small,
I can’t catch enough to make my belly full!
Bake me bug cookies and tasty bug treats
or else I will crush you with all my eight feet!”

And every kitchen in the kingdom did their part
Cockroach-chip cookies and slimy snail tarts
The spider gobbled up disgusting fruit-fly-cakes
He even devoured shoe fly pies they had baked

The king, trapped in the web, cried out to his sons
“Boys, save the kingdom from this oversized bum!
The hungry spider will eat up every insect,
And then birds and frogs, hungry, will defect!”

Prince Stu, number two, decided it would be best
To challenge the spider to a game of chess
To the victor, the kingdom, to the loser, time-out
And the giant spider agreed without even a pout

Prince Stu nearly won, but became disappointed
When the spider said, “Hey, what’s that!” and pointed
Prince Stu turned, surprised, but hadn’t known cheats
The spider secretly snuck extra pieces with his feet

With Prince Stu defeated, the people lost hope
The spider was so happy that he had to gloat
The spider announced to all citizenry
The things that he wanted from them for free

“I’m so very hungry, and my food is so small,
I can’t catch enough to make my belly full!
Bake me bug cookies and tasty bug treats
or else I will crush you with all my eight feet!”

And every kitchen in the kingdom did their part
Cockroach-chip cookies and slimy snail tarts
The spider gobbled up disgusting fruit-fly-cakes
He devoured shoe fly pies that they had baked

The king, trapped in the web, cried out to his sons
“Boys, save the kingdom from this oversized bum!
The hungry spider will eat up every insect,
And then birds and frogs, hungry, will defect!”

Prince Bert, the hurt, rolled up to his father
“Dad, I don’t know why I should bother,
I can’t run or jump, I can’t ice skate
I’m not very mean, or smart, or great!”

“Son,” said the king, “I think you are wrong
And I happen to know that you are quite strong
Few would survive that fall from the tree
And you’ve soldiered on since you were just three!

“I know you’re strong enough to beat this spider,
Just gather the courage that you’ve got inside there,
And figure the weakness of your enemy
Before he gobbles up all of our kingdom’s bees!”

Prince Bert, the hurt, rolled bravely to the spider
And that mean spider couldn’t contain his laughter
“You’re in a wheelchair! Your tiny legs are pudding!
I’ve got eight legs each as strong as a building!”

“Jerk!” shouted Bert, at the spider’s laughter,
“You couldn’t make it in my world, Buster!
Sure you’ve got legs, but you never know
When something might happen to lay you low!”

“Fine,” said the spider, “I’ll play along
How hard can it be with wheels to roll on?
I’ll borrow your chair, and won’t use all my feet
I’ll use just these two like hands to push the seat”

The spider lifted Prince Bert from the chair
And mounted with six feet as everyone stared
Though the spider didn’t quite fit, he did his best
Prince Bert rode on the spider’s back as a witness

Prince Bert said, “Right, now see if you will
Have any trouble getting to the top of that hill!”
The spider, scoffed, and said, “That’s too easy!”
And pushed and he pushed and then sounded wheezy

“Hey,” said the spider, “I see your scam!
I push and I push, but when I move my hands,
I seem to roll backwards! You can’t climb hills
When you’re riding this chair and pushing wheels!”

Prince Bert said, “I can, and you can watch me do it!”
The spider dismounted the chair and put Bert into it
Without any problems, Prince Bert climbed the hill
Despite the gravity pulling back on his wheels.

Prince Bert said, “Now, see if you can,
Go to the potty with just those two hands!”
The spider laughed and said, “How hard can that be?
And after all my bug eating, I need to potty!”

The spider again mounted the wheelchair,
And Prince Bert rode on top but tried not to stare
For in the bathroom, the spider attempted the feat
He rolled the chair up to the toilet seat

When the spider tried to jump from one seat to another
He kept landing wrong, and couldn’t quite figure
how with only two limbs he could drop shorts to his ankles
and climb to the toilet seat without getting all tangled.

“Man this is hard,” he shouted, in defeat,
“Nobody can do this without use of their feet!”
Prince Bert rolled his eyes and said, haughtily
“I can, but this time you can’t watch me.”

So the spider waited outside the stall
While Prince Bert rolled in, and did it all
Afterwards the spider heard the royal flush
Then Bert washed his hands -- no fuss, no muss

“Wow, you sure are good at all this hard stuff
Giant spiders can’t imagine life being so rough.
It was fun playing with you, but I’m going to go back,
I’m still very hungry for tasty bug snacks.”

“You know,” said Prince Bert, “I bet I could show you
In case you end up with no legs below you.
When I was still learning to live in my chair,
My brother, Prince Wayne, helped me prepare.”

“Well, if it won’t take too long,” said the spider,
“I guess I can find out just in case, for the future.”
The giant spider followed Prince Bert to the crane.
Prince Bert hooked up the chair, and climbed out again.

Prince Bert crawled into the crane’s cockpit
He strapped himself in and watched the spider sit
In the wheelchair, which soon rose up to the sky,
The giant spider got scared, and let out a cry

“Hey, let me down! What do you think you’re doing!?”
Prince Bert kept that spider rising and rising
Bert didn’t stop until the crane was at the top.
Then Prince Bert left the spider there to rot.

The citizens cut the king free with his soldiers
(But they left Prince Wayne, the pain, until later)
The king raised a cheer for his victorious son,
Prince Bert, the hurt, fought a spider and won!

The giant spider, on the crane, realized he’d been had.
He decided he’d leap down and fight like mad.
But this wasn’t smart of that silly arachnid
When he landed, his legs cracked like pieces of plastic.

And all the king’s soldiers and all the king’s men
Carried the spider to their fairy doctor friends
Prince Bert, the hurt, also rushed to the ER
He had never meant to hurt that silly spider.

And fairy doctors and a goblin nurse
Did their best with the legs that had all burst.
In the end just two legs still moved for the spider
So the spider was going to need a wheelchair

In fact, after surgery, that goblin nurse
Came back with a terrible, awful curse
Apparently the spider was not supposed to be giant
And needed an immediate and severe diet!

When all was fixed up and the doctors had finished,
Prince Bert and the now kid-sized arachnid
Rolled home together in matching wheelchairs
And the people (rudely) couldn’t help but stare

For from now on they were the best of friends.
Prince Bert, the hurt, and his spider on the mend
Played trucks and trains and wheelchair basketball
And sometimes even raced along the castle wall.

And Prince Stu, number two, went back to his books
The princesses all practiced their prettiest looks
And the king and the queen and all of the people
Gave thanks to Prince Bert, who’s certainly not disabled

For Prince Bert, the hurt, had saved the kingdom
Despite his wheelchair. He even made a new friend.
And life was great for all but Prince Wayne.
They left him in bed, and tied down, Wayne remained.

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