Thursday, May 25, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 78

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Iran.

The Persian Gulf lies to its south—
The Caspian Sea is north.
And our relations with Iran
Have been so back and forth.

A friend and then an enemy—
And Time can only weep
For wasted opportunity—
These hatreds we all keep!

But things have cooled—perhaps a bit?—
In recent hours and days.
Perhaps one day we’ll reconcile?
In human sorts of ways?

Until that day—a day I hope
Is very, very near—
We live in doubt, uncertainty—
With piercing shafts of fear.



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 77

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Indonesia.

Komodo dragons wander there—
Orangatans and such.
And lots of other critters that
I wouldn’t like to touch.

And islands by the thousands, all
Volcanoes ancient born.
And time and hist’ry—both of them—
The roughness well have worn.

On Java lives Jakarta—it’s
The capital, of course.
The South Pacific flows around
With oceanic force.

The languages are myriad—
The cultures also so.
A lifetime’s study—not enough
To learn all I should know.

I’ve not been there—and I am sure
I’ll not be going soon.
The light of day that is my life
Is now late afternoon.

But I can read—and fantasize—
About how brave I’d be
When I’d outface a dragon
Who’d be sore afraid of me.




Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 76

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

India.

Columbus thought he’d found the place.
But hadn't. So he saved some face
By calling locals “Indians”—
As if, somehow, they were the ones

Who’d drifted there so magically
To give their gold to Spain, you see?
But India—that fabled land—
Lay far away, we understand.

The British tried their form of rule,
But Gandhi took them all to school,
And now so much there flourishes—
And tech’s a way that nourishes

So many Indians these days—
But also—there are other ways
That people in that stunning place
Can live their lives with heart and grace.

The Himalayas—more than high—
Appear to pierce the very sky.
And jungles full of wondrous things—
There, lurking Death himself just springs.

And Alexander was to learn—
What through experience we earn:
You cannot beat that thing called Fate—
No matter if your name is “Great”!



Monday, May 22, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 75

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Iceland.

Some countries have a name that fits—
And Iceland, which of course still sits

There in the North Atlantic, well,
It really isn’t hard to tell

Where it acquired its name!
The country gained some certain fame

Not long ago—in '72
When Bobby Fischer (what he’d do!)

Became the world champion—
Defeating Spassky—U.S. won!

But Iceland is an ancient land—
With glaciers, mountains close at hand.

Oh, wouldn’t it be awfully nice
To visit such a land of ice?

(And then come home, as warm as mice,
Escaped from winter’s Paradise?)



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL ,74

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Hungary.

A name which every single kid
Has, early on, so misperceived.
Each thinks it’s “Hungry”—yes,  I did—
Oh, what ignorance I weaved!

It’s had a varied sort of life—
Been occupied by powers that
Did little but increase the strife
Of daily lives. It’s not “old hat,”

This serial of dominance.
Adjustments are required of all—
And in this governmental dance
You watch it flourish, see it fall.

But still the Danube flows along,
And Budapest remains a joy.
The hills and mountains—both belong.
And fertile fields they still employ.

So let us hope that freedom rings
Throughout its troubled countryside,
That each succeeding new year brings
Much hope, success—all justified.



Saturday, May 20, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 73

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Honduras.

It was back in the day when I did a report
For geography class—didn’t want to distort
All the facts and that stuff, so I copied (again!)
From a reference book—yes, a bad classroom sin!

So, Honduras this time—well, the Mayans were there.
And some forests abound—and the tropical air.
And it has lots of coastline—a visitor’s boon—
And some venomous snakes that make some flee—and soon.

It was in seventh grade when I, well, plagiarized—
A technique that, of course, was not too well advised.
And my teacher was wise—and she recognized me
And rewarded it all with a “gentleman’s C.”

(I exhaled a deep breathfor it should have been "F.")



Friday, May 19, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 72

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Haiti.

So Haiti holds the western part
Of Hispaniola—yes, the art
Of sharing land with other folks
Can work a bit—and is no hoax.

That earthquake came—2010—
And much of what so long had been
Then crumbled to the quaking earth—
And grief acquired another birth.

The world rushed in to help a bit—
And Haitians were to benefit.
But many problems still remain—
The ruins, illness—still the bane

Of those who live in poverty—
And Hope is distant, hard to see.
And so the aid must ever flow
To those who need it—don't we know?



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 71

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Guyana.

Guyana! South America!
The continental coast.
The capital is Georgetown, and
The jungle covers most

Of the terrain. The English ruled
Till 1966.
And now it’s free—but English is
The language lunatics

And all the rest continue now
To use in common speech—
The only country in SA
Where English teachers teach

The population. Wildlife there
Is varied—even weird.
A giant otter—sounds to me
Like something to be feared.

All kinds of birds we find down there—
The toucan, hawk, and owl.
There seems to be just countless kinds
Of interesting fowl.

But jungle cats lie in the shade
And wait for careless prey.
I think I will not wander there—
And stay un-chewed today!



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 70

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Guinea-Bissau.

Here’s something that I must admit:
I have not ever heard of it—
I feel so ignorant. (A bit.)

Upon the western coast it lies—
In Africa. Atlantic skies.
Attracts the many girls and guys

Who want to see the wildlife there—
The lions lyin’ in their lair—
And hippos (though not everywhere).

It’s got some aardvark, antelope.
And weird things that are really dope.
And most of them have learned to cope—

Though all those forests being cut
Just do not help. Oh, such a rut
You’re in: You need a house, a hut,

A shopping mall, some boards of wood,
And so you cut all that you could.
While critters flee your neighborhood.



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 69

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Guinea.

If you travel to Guinea (you can’t go by road),
Then you need to check out the viviparous toad.
It is one of those creatures—so rare on this earth:
It’s a toad that delivers its young by live birth.

But enough of frivolity—now time to learn
About Guinea, which lies (as you quickly discern)
On the west coast of Africa—much ocean breeze
With some valuable jungles with critters that seize

Those who are much too careless to care for their lives—
So be so circumspect, all of you husbands and wives,
Every Darrell and Donna, each Gerald and Jenny—
Or you’ll learn there are creatures so hungry in Guinea!



Monday, May 15, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 68

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Guatemala.

It sits just south of Mexico—
Antigua is the name
Of its fair capital, and high
Is Guatamala’s fame

Among informed historians,
And vulcanologists
Who love that crater—very large—
That sits amid the mists.

The Mayans once were dominant—
Until the Spanish came—
And then I guess we have to say
That things were not the same.

The wildlife is amazing there—
So many jungle cats
And other beats that love to feed
Upon our leans and fats.

So circumspect—that is the word
To follow when you’re there.
Be careless, and … well, you’ll be food—
From toenails up to hair!



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 67

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Grenada.

I know that I had never heard
Of this near island—till the word
Of our invasion—’83.
A Reagan deed—voila! they’re free!

It’s on the Caribbean there—
Complete with beaches, ocean air.
They’re known for nutmeg, by the way—
That egg-nog stuff? On Christmas Day?

The Brits were there—the French were, too.
But they have gone (as conquerors do).
And tourists flock there from the cold—
A journey that does not grow old!



Saturday, May 13, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 66

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Greece.

I think of Greece: The Golden Fleece!
And frequent war (as well as peace).

I think of wise old Sophocles—
Whose plays enjoy each new reprise.

And Plato and his Socrates—
That hemlock brought him to his knees!

The Parthenon—those randy gods
Who had such ripped and ready bods.

And Aristotle—what a mind!
A rare and very precious kind.

Remember Aristophanes?
Whose plays still stun and always please.

Odysseus and Penelope—
It took some time for him to free

Himself, to kill those greedy dudes
Who had such selfish attitudes.

(Lord Byron died there--what a shame!
But he's retained his name and fame.)

Oh, all those stories! All that myth!
So long we’ve been acquainted with

It all. And then … democracy.
But will it linger? We will see.

To Greece we owe enormous debt—
A gift that we cannot forget.



Friday, May 12, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 65

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Ghana.

Now, Ghana was the Gold Coast when
I was in seventh grade
And had a class (geography)—
And a report I made

On Ghana. But I copied it—
The World Book (very neat).
I was so proud of that report—
It seemed, well, such a feat.

Now, Ghana's on the western coast
Of Africa. And has
Some history of slavery
But now is noted as

A place where empires came and went—
Where varied wildlife roam—
A place where for millennia
Some tribes had made a home.

But I still think about that kid—
Of oh so long ago
Who wrote that paper—and who thought
His teacher wouldn’t know.


(She did.)



Thursday, May 11, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 64

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Germany.

I’ve spent some time in Germany—
I’ve driven on the Autobahn.
I saw as much as I could see
By starting every day at dawn.

I visited historic sites.
I took a cruise—the river Rhine.
I drove up into alpine heights
And toured that Castle Frankenstein.

My dad was there. That World War.
I saw some places he had been.
Like Dachau—rotten to the core.
I saw where young Anne Frank had been.

Cathedrals and those little towns
That look like famous works of art.
The rivers, restaurants—ups and downs.
Such evidence of mind and heart!



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 63

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Georgia.

No longer is it Soviet—
They’re thrilled about it—yes, you bet!

It sits there on the eastern shore—
The Black Sea—and there’s so much more

About the country’s history—
Its varied rich geography:

From mountains that seem everywhere—
And swamps and farmland? They are there.

For farming, forests have been cleared,
So it is not what it appeared

To be so long ago …
          I  find
That I’ve got Georgia on my mind!








Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL. 62

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Gambia.

It’s got a narrow strip of coast
That doesn’t give much room to boast
In Africa.

But it is full of wonders there—
The animals, the jungle lair
In Africa.

Surrounding it is Senegal—
A map designed by Roald Dahl
In Africa?!?

Some history of slavery—
Though now those folks are often free
In Africa.

It’s got some crocs; it’s got some snakes—
And that is all it really takes
In Africa ...

To keep me home.



Monday, May 8, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 61

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.


Gabon.

Gabon lies on the eastern coast
Of Africa. It is well-known
That it has parks (oh, yes, Gabon!)
That people like to see the most.

Gorillas roam there—buffalo
Are there as well. And elephants.
You hear some scary roars and grunts—
But, still, a place I’d love to go.

They also have petroleum
In vast reserves. They have it all—
From jungles, oil, a monkey’s call.
To me it says: “Oh, you should come!”



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 60

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.


France.

I’ve been to France! And I’ve traversed
A bunch of it by train
Before I entered Switzerland—
Will I do it again?

I don’t speak French—my mother did—
My older brother, too.
But I took Latin, German—it
Was much for me to do!

I loved the countryside I saw—
The lights of Paris—yes!
I loved the Alps that we besieged—
The rivers, towns, the rest.

And then, of course, that history!
That literature, as well!
I once read Proust (in English—duh!),
Who had a tale to tell,

The greatest books I’ve ever read—
Will likely ever read.
I think of France—it all comes back—
And in my dreams I speed

Across that fabled countryside—
And I’m no longer old—
With memories and fondness for
Those great tales greatly told.