Sunday, August 21, 2011


Editor's note: "Many worthwhile programs don't get off the ground simply because their time has not come," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. Or maybe, I'd suggest, government leaders just can't agree on what to do next.

The notion for meals on wheels began
Centuries ago, with primitive man.
The truth of the legend, nobody knows,
But this is the way the story goes:
With home-made spears, a Neanderthal pair
Went out in the woods and killed a bear.

After their hirsute tummies were tight,
One remarked, "A deplorable sight!
There's more bear here than we can eat,
What'll we do with this leftover meat?
It's a shame to let it spoil and decay--
Can't we dispose of it some other way?"

The other replied, "How true, how true,
And here's what I would suggest we do:
There must be many people out there,
Who'd love to have the rest of this bear;
We'll load these leftovers into our car,
And feed these folks, wherever they are!"

A kind and considerate thought, as it were,
A great idea, but premature;
They couldn't use their automobile,
For nobody yet had invented the wheel!
And that's why nothing was done back there,
And vultures consumed the rest of the bear!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)

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