April 10th, 2008


A Gift of Poetry

A very happy birthday to my daughter, stryck, whose last birthday for a while this is. She was born on the same day as my father, known to his grandcubs as Grandbear. He died in 1998; he would have been 85 today.

Anyway, this is one of my favorite poems to recite on the backpacking trail, and I think stryck remembers it fondly. It is part of my birthday gift to her. As for the other part, birthday greetings and goodies for both stryck and hubby anher (birthday April 16) should arrive by noon today at their home.

N.B. The penultimate line of this poem includes an ethnic slur that I think is probably out of bounds these days. If I could figure out how to edit it properly to avoid giving offense, I would, but my poor brain hasn't been up to it. As it is, Carlos Mencia could probably get away with it, but I feel I have to be more careful. Anyway, please keep in mind that this is an old piece, and the stereotype herein does not reflect the attitudes of the poster; if you're likely to be offended, pass on by. All that said, this is one hilarious piece, generally – especially if you've spent any time in Texas (or at Philmont, where Too Many Texans™ are known to roam*).

Hell in Texas

The devil, we're told, in hell was chained,
And a thousand years he there remained,
And he never complained, nor did he groan,
But determined to start a hell of his own
Where he could torment the souls of men
Without being chained to a prison pen.

So he asked the Lord if He had on hand
Anything left when He made the land.
The Lord said, "Yes, I had plenty on hand,
But I left it down on the Rio Grande.
The fact is, old boy, the stuff is so poor,
I don't think you could use it in hell any more."
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