“Cheeky wee monkey,” Jo spoke quietly and
“No, not you. This.”
The two of them had been working on student work in
a diligent silence broken now and again to complain
that teaching English might be OK, if only it were not
for the marking.
She said it again, “Cheeky wee monkey, I didn’t ask
for too much. Write a poem, just one poem, in a
recognized form and in the style of one of the great
poets writing in the English language.”
“So what did you get back?”
“Mostly worthy if boring stuff, but there’s always a
“So what have you got?”
Jo passed it over to a grinning Ann who read it out
NEVER EAT THE LIVER OF A POLAR BEAR.
Balance the needs of work and play,
and eat with care, yes every day.
And what is more, I heard they say,
never overdose, on Vitamin A.
But someone really said, somewhere
never eat the liver of a polar bear.
“Well,” continued Ann who was by now unashamedly
giggling like a schoolgirl. “The rhyme is quite sweet if
you like rhyming couplets. But it is difficult to spot the
style. Perhaps it’s not Shelly or Browning or even
Shakespeare, unless of course it’s a very early
Shakespeare perhaps age eight or thereabouts.”
As they went back to marking their students’ work,
they agreed that the world is a far better place for
having a cheeky wee monkey in it.
NEVER EAT THE LIVER OF A POLAR BEAR
Never Eat the Liver of a Polar Bear
was published in Corvus Review