Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shooting, and doing the things historians usually record, while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry and even whittle statues. The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks. Historians are pessimists because they ignore the banks for the river. ~Will Durant
Young Kate in school first day that year
from history teacher’s lips did hear
“Sit down, be quiet, we’re here to learn,”
he scowled and growled most brusque and stern
“of history’s lessons, dull and dry
now come, pick up, we’ve done July.
Our months remember number twelve
and through them into history we shall delve
of battles, kings, and conquerings
and maps and dates and boring things
so learn these facts and do remember
there will be exams in late December.
Hot August now you may not know
has been with us two thousand years or so
two thousand fifty five it seems
since Ceasar mocked proud Egypt’s Queen
and earned a month for him alone
to mark the days upon his throne.
High Krakatoa blew its crown
and spread her ashes world round
no summer came that long cold year
no light, no day, so dark, so drear
and pastor Jones he came undone
he went to church with loaded gun.
America by leaps had grown
but by how much no one had known
til’ congress came into its senses
they took a count, they did a census
and found there were three mil or more
of young and old, of rich and poor.”
Young Kate and friends were not enthused
and teacher dear was not amused
but taught them well, his lessons sound
through months and weeks the whole year round
they read their texts and wrote their tomes
and learned their lessons nights at home.
Kate passed her test, she did okay
yet soon her knowledge did fade away
but of this month she did recall
what she remembered best of all
she got her wish, she got a kitty
and young Edward called her pretty.
Marv Himmel August 1, 2010 ©