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“Cheeky wee monkey,” Jo spoke quietly and unexpectedly. “What!” “No, not you. This.” “What?” 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 cheeky one.” “So what have you got?” “This.” Jo passed it over to a grinning Ann who read it out loud. 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. end
NEVER EAT THE LIVER OF A POLAR BEAR
Never Eat the Liver of a Polar Bear was published in Corvus Review Fall 2015.
NEVER EAT THE LIVER OF A POLAR BEAR “Cheeky wee monkey,” Jo spoke quietly and unexpectedly. “What!” “No, not you. This.” “What?” 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 cheeky one.” “So what have you got?” “This.” Jo passed it over to a grinning Ann who read it out loud. 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. end Never Eat the Liver of a Polar Bear was published in Corvus Review, Fall 2015.
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