Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 168

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Sweden.

I like those novels of the North—
Those thrillers that veer back and forth

Between a good or evil end—
On resolution we depend!

Stieg Larsson was a favorite with
Those “dragon” books—played with the myth.

But Sweden! Yes! A magic place
With mountains, fjords—it’s the case

I see those places in my mind—
Though I’ve not been there, have not dined

On Swedish specialties—like bread
(Of much of it I’ve often read).

And I’ve not been to Stockholm—yet.
(I put a “yet” to hedge my bet).

But were I young, I’d love to sail
To Sweden—then to tell my tale.



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 167

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Swaziland.*

It’s landlocked in South Africa—
A country very small.
In fact, I really must confess,
I knew it not at all.

But that’s because I’m ignorant
Of far too many things:
Of sailing ships and sealing wax
Of cabbages and kings.**

And while we speak of kings, let’s note
That Swaziland has one.
They gained their freedom (’68)—
And that produced some fun.

The king came later—seven years—
And now he’s in control.
A simple sort of government:
“You all do what you’re tol’!”

But still, the country’s quite diverse—
Geography and that.
They’ve got those noted animals—
The rhino—jungle cat

(That’s lion! leopard!)—buffalo—
And parks where you can see
These creatures in their habitats—
Sounds awesome now to me.

But I’m a creature, also, and
I want to tell you, Bud:
That though I am part human, well,
I have some chicken blood!

*SWAH-zee-land
**Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?



Monday, August 21, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 166

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Suriname [suhr-ih-NAHM-uh] .

Suriname—on the coast—
Northeastern South America—
The tropic forests there can boast
Some ocelot and tapir. The

Macaw cries out; the wild boar bores;
The howler monkeys scream their woe—
The happy traveler adores
It all—is grateful for the show.

The Netherlands once claimed the place—
But nearly fifty years ago
It gained its freedom—can embrace
That luxury that we all know.

The smallest in the continent,
It still has much of value there.
But freedom there—and all it’s meant—
Is what deserves the greatest care.



Sunday, August 20, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 165

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Sudan.

The capital is named Khartoum—
A splendid name, as cities go.
The very sound relieves the gloom,
Suggests adventure, as you know.

It is a large Islamic state—
And Arabic, official tongue.
It once was Nubia (so great)
Of which some songs were back then sung.

And oil flows there, from ground to bank,
And agriculture is still key.
But lots of problems (let’s be frank)
Affect its full economy.

They have those famous jungle beasts—
Giraffe and elephant and ass—
And some are killed (assorted feasts)—
And some catch us as we catch bass!



Saturday, August 19, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 164

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Sri Lanka.

It was “Ceylon” when I was young,
But in the 70s it changed—
So many things got rearranged—
And English? It's no more the tongue.

And human beings for countless years
Have occupied this island place—
Back to the dawn of this, our race,
When mystery ruled all the spheres.

There many rivers flow along—
And countless species flourish there,
Like leopard, elephant, and bear
While myriad birds contribute song.

With festival the culture’s rich—
With foods of all appealing type
(With fruits that drip when they are ripe).
In many ways they’ve perfect pitch!



Friday, August 18, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 163

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Spain.

You remember the song about Spain and the rain?
(My Fair Lady, the source of that song.)
Yes, Eliza was learning just how to pronounce
English words—both the short and the long.

Well, I’ve not been to Spain, but I’ve been somewhat close—
Dear old France is not too far away,
But I hope in the future some good news might come,
And to Spain I might travel one day.

And old Hemingway went there (that bad civil war),
And of course, Mr. Irving once wrote
A long book about Spain and its difficult past,
And Columbus came here on a boat.

But the country is rich in its history and lore—
And its language has spread everywhere.
Don Quixote fought windmills (that daffy old dude),
Inquisitions conducted (not fair!).

So we celebrate Spain (on the plain in the rain?)—
And we marvel at all they have done.
And I still want to go—there is so much to see—
Buy my ticket! And I’ll have some fun!



Thursday, August 17, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 162

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

South Sudan.

This is a recent country that
Was born just six short years ago,
Seceding from Sudan. Yes, at
The table this occurred. But slow

Is progress in a fractured state—
A civil war has raged for years—
And there is really no debate
About the blood, the fears, the tears.

Economy—it’s somewhat weak,
Though oil is in the money mix.
And, yes, it’s wealth that most men seek—
But this will be so slow to fix.

The wildlife there? Iconic things:
Giraffe and elephant, baboon,
And lion, leopard (they’re the kings)—
All hope that peace reigns—very soon. 





Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 161

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

South Korea.

Now South Korea’s in the news—
The North, an ever-present threat,
Has got some nukes (oh, yeah, you bet!)—
And in the West we have the blues.

This blustering some leaders do—
The threats—intimidation—war!
It frightens many—to the core—
Reduces me to blobs of goo.

To live and let live—that’s my way.
Believe just what you wish or will—
But, please, I beg, decline to kill
Dissenters—oh, there’s much dismay

Among those folks (those folks like me!)
Who sing that old familiar song—
“Can’t we here just all get along?”—
And deeply cherish liberty?



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 160

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

South Africa.

It has some racial history
That time has fractured—partially.

Mandela won the Nobel Prize
For all he did to energize

All people who wished to be free—
The end he brought to tyranny.

But things are still not (as we know)
Reformed completely … very slow.

But such a place for folks to be!
A fabled place! Such scenery!

It’s got those beasts we all admire—
The cats that race as if on fire—

The elephants with ivory—
The rhino still is roaming free.

Its ecosystems vary there—
Savannah, woodlands, ocean air!

And Cape Town is a famous place
That shows the world the country’s face.

Eleven languages, I read,
Are there official—fills a need.

The country has deep problems—yes.
But so do we, we must confess.

Let human voices swell that we
All sing in hopeful harmony.



Monday, August 14, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 159

Somalia.

The Horn of Africa—the place
Where you will quickly find
Somalia—a country with
Economy unkind.

For there is so much poverty—
Such hopelessness, I fear—
That desperation fuels the lives
Of people, year to year.

It’s got an ancient history—
Back centuries it goes.
A recent problem—piracy!
As anybody knows,

There is too much disparity—
The rich and then the poor.
And agriculture’s threatened by
Fierce droughts and so much more.

They have some noted wildlife there—
Like some wild buffalo,
And lions, leopards, ostriches—
Such splendid things, you know!

The Indian Ocean borders it—
Marine life there still thrives.
And many hope things will improve
For all those human lives.



Sunday, August 13, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 158

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Solomon Islands.

King Solomon was very wise—
That baby thing? A real surprise.

It seems its name came from that king,
Who had vast riches—everything.

Nine hundred islands—very vast.
And people? Critters? Quite a cast.

Jack London sailed there years ago—
He lost his health—felt very low

The rest of his truncated life—
He left it all to his poor wife.

The place is equatorial—
And most of it arboreal.

So many types of birds are there—
And smaller mammals, everywhere—

An emperor that is a rat—
A flying fox (you can’t beat that!).

And off the shore? Oh, hear my tale:
You’re bound to see a humpback whale!



Saturday, August 12, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 157

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Slovenia.

A Central European site
Along the Adriatic Sea,
Slovenia has got some height,
With lots of alpine scenery.

It gained its freedom—’91—
And is an active seismic zone.
But earthquakes are so rarely fun
I’ll prob’ly leave the place alone.

The animal diversity
Is rich—oh, lots of critters there,
Like ibex, boar, and deer (oh me!)—
Of course, they’ve got a hairy hare.

And Yugoslavia had been
The ruler of this fabled land.
But now is now, and when was when,
So let’s strike up the Freedom Band!



Friday, August 11, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 156

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Slovakia.

When I was but a little boy
This name began with “Czech.“
And spelling it was quite a chore—
A real pain in the neck.

It wasn’t, yo, orthography
That caused the country’s split—
But wishes of the people there
To bring the end of it.

The early 1990s—that’s
When independence came,
When that split came in history
To truncate its long name.

It now has many liberties
It did not have before.
It farms and manufactures and
Does many things—much more!

And animals? Let’s not forget:
It is their homeland, too.
And not just for some hunters or
For patrons of the zoo.

Those Slovak bears and wolves and minks
And wildcats here and there
Remind all thoughtful humans that
They really should take care

When hiking trails or camping out—
Be sure to keep it real.
A camping trip’s a bummer when
You find you are a meal!



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 155

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Singapore.

A place that seems as if it were
Once named for many reasons—more:
Its name has got a rhythmic purr—
I love that name, that “Singapore.”

It’s in Malaysia—there’s a word
I love to see in print—or hear.
As if a song from some sweet bird—
The word is perfect—very clear.

But Singapore! (Let’s not forget!)
Its largest island is the core—
But there are others—oh you bet—
A cluster is this Singapore.

And banking there and commerce are
The biggest ways they make their way—
But other lights are in their star.
It costs to live there, day by day.

A lot of bats fly through the night—
And snakes slide on the forest floor.
So watch yourself—be very bright!—
If you go visit Singapore!





Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 154

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Sierra Leone.

It has a history—slavery—
West Africa, the place.
But now Freetown’s its capital—
Now distant from disgrace.

“The Lion Mountains”—this, its name,
From 1462.
A name to keep me far away—
And also true for you?

The British ruled the place until,
Oh, 1961.
A civil war—some twenty years!—
But peace has lately won.

And agriculture still remains
The source for people’s lives—
At least the main one, though, I fear,
A farmer rarely thrives.

It’s got some hippopotamus—
Some elephant, as well.
Some antelope that leopards chase
For suppers (so they tell).

Some pigs (the wild kind) roam about,
Enjoying being free.
And there resides our relative—
That’s right: the chimpanzee!

And off the coast—marine life thrives,
Avoiding crimes and jails.
(And aren’t I just so clever to
Set up a rhyme for whales?)



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship Doggerel , 153

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.
Seychelles.*

And once again I’m feeling dumb—
My brain’s not vibrant—purely numb.
Another place I didn’t know!
(And if no know you no can go!)

A country formed of islands that
Lie off East Africa. Some flat.
Some not. Most uninhabited
By people—neither living, dead.

They once were English—way back when.
But now they’re not what they had been.
For fifty years they have been free—
And now live independently.

But, oh, the wildlife thriving there!
Some common—some things very rare.
From tortoises to parakeets
To crocodile that always eats

Just what that day it fancies most—
Like fish—or humans (with some toast).
The sea life is abundant, too,
And there are many things to do—

Or so I’ve read so recently—
Though none of it, of course, is free.
So … hop aboard an island plane!
(You cannot get out there by train.)


*pronounced say-SHELLS



Monday, August 7, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 152

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Serbia.

A Balkan country with a past—
With deep regrets, an iffy cast
Of leaders who had hearts so dark
No light could live. So grim, so stark.

The country’s a republic now—
A constitution rules somehow.
For years it bridged the West, the East—
Though sometimes it just Fed The Beast.

It’s got so many carnivores—
To them we are but bites—s’mores!
The wolf, the fox, the cat, the lynx—
They are all there—my hope just sinks!

I sit a world away and hope
That peaceful ways increase in scope.
That people there—and everywhere—
Can learn to live with human care.



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 151

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Senegal.

Along the western coast it lies—
The coast of Africa, I mean.
It’s Senegal (which I’ve not seen—
Which is, of course, no real surprise).

It once was occupied—the French.
In 1960 came the news:
Yes, independence cures some blues,
And Hope arises from his bench.

The rolling hills and foothills there
Accommodate some rivers, too.
A climate that is hot for you
And me, of course. (Such humid air!)

It’s got much wildlife—very wild!
Giraffe and elephant and cat—
A lion!—But you know of that?
I mean, I know you’re not a child!

Baboon and chimpanzee, as well.
And leopard (yeah, the one with spots)—
So careful with your little tots—
For cats get hungry, truth to tell!

So Senegal—along the coast—
Has much to lure the tourist there
Like wildlife, if you really dare:
Be careful, or you’ll end up toast!