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!



Saturday, August 5, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 150

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Saudi Arabia.

The wealth that’s there—beyond belief.
If it were shared, there’d be relief—
Enough to end much human grief.

Along the Persian Gulf it lies—
A desert land (that’s no surprise)—
Religious history? The size

Of that’s beyond immense—
As anyone who has much sense
Must know. (There’s really no suspense.)

The country is a kingdom, so
The powerful, as we all know,
Maintain the wealth—that oil dough.

Restricted are the women there—
From clothes to words to acts to hair.
But things may change—if people dare.

An ally—an uneasy one—
For us there in the boiling sun
As we pursue what can’t be won.



Friday, August 4, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 149

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.


São Tomé and Principe.

And once again I’m humbled by
The things I do not know.
I’d never heard of this fair place—
Had never thought to go.

It’s near the coast of Africa—
Just off the western shore—
Where Portuguese is spoken still,
Where … oh, there’s so much more!

It’s equatorial, I see,
Has a volcanic past:
The islands rose as a result of
Some deep mountain’s blast.

The climate (duh!) is tropical—
And mammals? There are few:
Some bats will whip around at night—
It also has a shrew.

It has a lot of turtles—and
So many fish and fowl
At night, I guess, you still can hear
A startling, haunting howl.

I am more educated now—
I’ve learned a thing or two.
A country! Small! Near Africa!
Am thrilled to know it … you?



Thursday, August 3, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 148

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

San Marino.

They call this place a “microstate”—
Surrounded there by Italy
(As we’re surrounded, all, by Fate),
But fully independent—free.

Financial matters form the base
Of its economy. And high
Above this very different place
Rise mountains stark against the sky.

The aged architecture there
Brings tourists who now still admire
The artistry—artistic care—
The skill such structures all require.

It’s got some badger, got some fox.
Some squirrels frisk; some hares there hop.
And orchards, vineyards (yes, some hawks!)—
There, Nature’s wonders just don’t stop.



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 147

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Samoa.

I read that book by Margaret Mead—
About Samoan life.
(It seems that her research was … off—
And caused a bit of strife.)

This group of Polynesian isles
Shows splendid natural sights—
And are there times more pleasant than
Those Polynesian nights?

Jack London sailed there on the Snark
On his truncated trip
Around the world: His health was poor
His hopes gave him the slip.

And Treasure Island’s author lived
And died—Samoan soil.
Yes, Robert Louis Stevenson,
Whose literary toil

Produced, yes, Treasure Island and
So many treasured books
That all deserve not only first
But many second looks.

It’s got some animals out there—
Some strange ones: flying fox!
And geckos running here and there,
Escaped from Geico’s box!

But Samoa is a place I wish
I’d traveled to before,
For now as age and health decline?
Quoth Raven: “Nevermore.”


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Around the World in the Good Ship DOGGEREL, 146

A doggerel series about the countries of the world.

Saint Vincent & the Grenadines.

Another Caribbean site—
A country, dude, though small and tight
Has got those beaches, private isles,
And yachts of many varied styles.

And Kingstown is the capital—
With hotel rooms, all very full.
The French were first—and then the Brits—
Who had to leave (did they throw fits?)—

And then the French—oh, yes, again!
And the Brits (did all heads spin?).
Volcanic as these places are,
Eruptions are not very far

Away. No thanks. I’ll stay right here—
Where there is not too much to fear.
Just taxes, aging, vertigo—
Except for those, I’m good to go!