Thursday, August 31, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 176

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Togo.

This is a slender land that lies
Just east of Ghana—has a shore
Along the Gulf of Guinea. Skies
Are sunny there—and there’s much more.

The capital is Lome, and
The palm trees form a lovely line
Along the shore, along the sand.
(A tourist finds it very fine!)

It once was French, but it’s been free
Since 1960. It relies
On farming for economy—
Despite its slender, compact size.

The country’s small, the critters not.
The cheetah races ’cross the ground
(You’d better have a Safety Spot!),
And elephants are all around.



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 175

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Timor-Leste (or East Timor).

A Southeast Asian island—it’s
The eastern half, you know?
The other? Indonesia—
Confusing—somewhat—no?

It was not till 2002
That independence came—
They’d tried a little earlier—
Put patience is the game.

And several centuries ago
The land was Portuguese—
But then the Europeans left—
No more was left to seize!

Geography is mountainous—
The climate, tropical.
And not a place where life itself
Is ordinary, dull.

They boast some birds—endangered ones.
Oh, more than one or two.
They’ve got some I’ve not heard about—
Like some strange cockatoo.

They’ve also got some snakes, some shrews.
A scary giant rat.
And if I got a glimpse of it,
Well, that would just be that!



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Around the World on the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 174

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Thailand.

It was once called “Siam”—recall?
The King and I? (Oh, what a ball!)

It still remains a monarchy—
Just travel there, and you will see

That ancient-with-the-modern mix
That many tourists can transfix.

There’s still a lot of poverty—
And many work so there will be

More hope in every human heart—
We bless those helpers: They’re a part

Of all that’s good about our race—
In Thailand, here, or anyplace.

Geography is varied so—
From mountain, river, and plateau.

And animals? Magnificent!
The leopard and the elephant

And many others, fine and rare.
They’ve even got aggressive bear.

(Which makes me think I wouldn’t like
A casual, careless evening hike!)



Monday, August 28, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 173

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Tanzania.

I’ve always like the sound of this:
Yes, “Tanzania”—hard to beat
(Much better than “Ohio”—hiss!)—
A name that seems, well, very meet.*

It sits right next to Mozambique—
Another name I really like.
(I sound a little like a freak,
I know—these names … I’ll drop the mike!)

The country’s known for wilderness—
For beasts of every jungle sort,
Like rhino, leopard (makes a mess
When eating you—so’s the report),

There’s elephant and buffalo
And lion, so-called King of Beasts,
Who likes, as I am sure you know,
All sorts of lovely fleshy feasts.

Swahili is the language there—
Another favorite word of mine.
Oh, such a country—very rare—
With much to like (so I opine!).

*I know … a bit too … Shakespearean a word.



Sunday, August 27, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 172

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Tajikistan.

It’s landlocked there in Asia—
Nearby are other -stans.
It’s got a lot of mountains, so
Some climbers are its fans.

It once, of course, was Soviet—
Till 1991.
And then its independence came—
But progress? Never done.

Its history is ancient; its
Economy is based
On ore and agriculture. Oh,
What problems they have faced!

There are a lot of animals
That roam around out there—
Like marmot, antelope, and fox—
Like ibex, goat, and bear.

This country is both very new
And very, very old.
And we can safely say, of course,
That most has not been told!



Saturday, August 26, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 171

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Taiwan.

A diplomatic problem posed
When many Chinese fled
The rise of Communism there—
When China added “Red.”

They fled in 1945
As Mao rose in force.
And we aligned with them so soon—
Opposing “Reds,” of course.

The capital is named Taipei,
And because of China’s stance,
We’ve had rough choreography
In diplomatic dance.

It was “Formosa” when I was
A very little lad.
But that has changed (so much has changed—
And much of it is bad!).

The lid has managed to stay on—
While trouble boils below.
Let’s hope that lid remains in place—
Or more than it will blow.



Friday, August 25, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 170

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Syria.

Oh, Syria, where horror magnifies
With every passing moment—no surprise.
For horror often lives ’neath desert skies.

The country has an ancient history—
From prehistoric times to days when we
Now hope that all the world will soon be free.

Religious, ethnic battles there are cruel—
With cruelties designed, it seems, to fool
The heart of hope. A very precious jewel

Is freedom, so we hope one future day
That it will here arrive somehow, some way,
That when it comes, it will do naught but stay.



Thursday, August 24, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 169

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Switzerland.

At last! A place where I have gone!
It seems so very long ago—
And I have written on and on
About some countries I don’t know.

In 1999 I went—
Geneva was that special place—
To see the site of that event—
The birth of Frankenstein—the space,

The villa where Lord Byron was—
The stories there about the ghosts.
And I went there to see because
(As you can tell—my many posts)

It was my Mary Shelley phase—
And I was reading many books—
And going through that twisted maze,
Obsessing over all: her looks,

Her life, and her career, and all.
So there I was—Geneva—where
I saw that villa (had a ball),
Felt some ... adventure—very rare.

I loved my time in Switzerland—
The mountains, lakes, the countryside.
Yes, all of it—so splendid, grand.
And when it ended? Sniffed and sighed.



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!