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The Mock Savior’s Song

also known as the Mobster Quadrille, after Lewis Carroll

Saving critters from extinction (lonely lovelies, prone and rare)
Is our calling. Gaia told us, “Save the toad with tufty hair!”
Our imperiled fuzzy buddies are our busy destiny—
Help preserve these coiffured croakers—will you come and hug a tree?
__Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you hug a tree?
__Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you hug a tree?

One was spotted on a bullrush (fleecy as a lacy lamb)
By a sky-high, pie-eyed tripper bouncing back from Amsterdam.
Join the green set glued to tarmac halting traffic for a toad.
Help us fight for hirsute hoppers—would you come and block the road?
__Would you, could you, would you, could you, would you block the road?
__Would you, could you, would you, could you, could you block the road?

Golden fields and silver rivers don’t belong in human hands
Now that swamp-reared, slimy betters are the gods of man-stained lands.
Come and bother breathing bozos robbing toads of precious air.
Splash red paint on truth and beauty. Trash a Rembrandt. Show you care.
__Can you, can’t you, can you, can’t you, can you show you care?
__Can you, can’t you, can you, can’t you, can’t you show you care?

Come and tear down all the horrors toxic patriarchies built.
Save the toad by spreading terror, torching dreams, and stoking guilt.
Free the earth from people poison. Pierce the pipeline. Damn the dam.
Frogs from bogs mean more than Granny. Come along and back our plan!
__Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you back our plan?
__Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you rid the world of Man?

.

.

Dodo Stoofpot 

a 17th century recipe for disaster  
from a Dutch sailor’s diary

Pluck the plumage. Brine the game.
Souse the rump and score the breast.
Stoke the embers. Fan the flame.
Spritz the flesh with lemon zest.
Season with a feather hand—
Flightless fowls are never bland.

Bubble oil till Hades-hot.
Bone and bind. When stuffed and trussed,
Sizzle in the smoking pot.
Sear the skin to form a crust.
Braise and baste this lush, nutritious,
Moreish manna from Mauritius.

Glaze it with a splash of this.
Garnish with a sprig of that.
Serve it in a jus of bliss.
Shoo away the galley cat.
Feast and quaff and feast some more—
This isle is rife with birds galore!

Both poems first published in Snakeskin

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Susan Jarvis Bryant has poetry published on Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in TRINACRIA, Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems anthology, and in Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets in the UK). Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition, and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.


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24 Responses

  1. fred schueler

    here’s another road ecology ditty from somewhere in Alberta in 2014, to the tune of “Why am I painting the livingroom?” (Kari Gunson is our coauthor on the wildlife-on-roads book https://eco-kare.com/

    why am I waypointing dead Raccoons?
    why am I waypointing dead Raccoons?
    why am I waypointing dead Raccoons?
    it is so sad to see
    a splattered family,
    all across Highway 3
    but there’s no way Kari
    can find the funds to be
    working on a species
    that’s not at all risk-ily
    • why am I waypointing dead Raccoons?

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      This is indeed a sad poem, Fred. There are two routes to take here. We can either shut down all roads and rid the planet of people in the interest of preserving more racoons, or we can take the Davy Crockett revolutionary route of culinary common sense during lean times. His recipe is printed below:

      Wild Frontier Fricassee
      from Davy Crockett’s Diary

      Two fresh raccoons as prime and plump
      As nature has allowed.
      Three onions and a chunky lump
      Of butter. One green cloud
      Of parsley. Five diced carrots.
      A feather from a finch.
      The chatter of two parrots.
      Opossum – just a pinch.
      Dark mole asses – one whole tin.
      A bit of this and that.
      Boil it up and save the skin
      To make a snazzy hat!

      Reply
      • fred schueler

        When we had a friend who was trapping Raccoons for the skins, he’d leave us the carcasses for specimen skeletons, and we found that if you used the spices specified in sausage recipes you got a very sausage-tasting product, so we ate almost nothing but Raccoon sausage for breakfast for an entire year.

        The alternative to shutting down the roads is what Kari Gunson does – facilitating wildlife crossing by overpasses or enhanced culverts

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Fred, you never fail to surprise me. What an amazing story. I can’t say I’m tempted to eat a raccoon sausage, or fricassee, for that matter, but I am intrigued by the Kari Gunson concept. As I said to Roy below, I am all for preserving our wildlife and keeping the environment clean, but never at the expense of human life. Fred, thank you very much for your interesting input.

  2. Roy Eugene Peterson

    The biting satire of “The Mock Savior’s Song,” pierces the mind with deft plays on words, amazing alliteration, and a “can’t miss” message! I checked in and found one UK organization estimated 20 tons of toads and frogs are killed every year attempting to cross roads. I have no idea how they can make such an estimate. “The Dodo Stoofpot” makes me wonder how tasty that meat must have been. I did look up “stoofpot” to confirm it was made for stew. Both poems were entertaining and educational.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Roy, I’m thrilled you enjoyed my poems and thoroughly appreciate your comments. As for the 20 tons of these poor road-crossing critters killed in the UK each year… I’m beginning to doubt all estimates from experts. I adore wildlife and will admit that my heart sinks when I see squashed animals on the roads. I believe it’s our duty to care for the wildlife and our surroundings, but never at the expense of human life. Thank you!

      Reply
      • fred schueler

        Estimates of road mortality are based on extrapolation from surveyed transects. We do 267 m of streets in the village here, and have extrapolated that our data estimates 300,000 road-killed Monarch butterflies/year in Ontario. This is a useful estimate of the possible magnitude of the problem, but more sophisticated estimates correct for adjacent habitat and other variables. Back around 2000, Using Geographic Information System (GIS) data, Kari Gunson estimated the potential for roadkill on every 15 m segment of road in Ontario, so it would be possible to assemble all the transect data, and use this to estimate overall roadkill in the province.

  3. Cynthia Erlandson

    Lobster / Mobster — what a hilarious idea! I’m laughing out loud. And I’ll bet Lewis Carroll would be, too! (And if anything would make the Mock Turtle laugh, this would.) You’ve certainly chosen a Mock-worthy subject for echoing Carroll’s wonderful rhythm.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Cynthia, you have made me smile… I loved writing my Mobster Quadrille and I am over the moon you approve. Echoing Lewis Carroll wasn’t easy… but I simply couldn’t resist. Thank you for your fine poet’s eye!

      Reply
  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    Everyone is sick of environmentalists, with their arrogant, presumptuous, holier-than-thou, “We-Have-To-Save-The-World” pomposity.

    I draw readers’ attention to the recent incident in Panama, where an elderly man named Kenneth Darlington, enraged at endless road blockages by these creeps, got out of his car, told them to get out of the way, and when they didn’t he pulled out his pistol and killed two of them on the spot. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube.

    I’ve written a poem in praise of this man and his actions. These environmentalists have to stop thinking of themselves as a protected class who can inconvenience anybody at any time.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Joe, thank you for reading my poems and for your opinion – an opinion I disagree with.

      Sadly, and worryingly, I think this save-the-planet lunacy is increasing, not abating. The education system is indoctrinating our children and turning them into activists. Social justice and activism have been foisted upon a few generations now, and this is the result. We have brainwashed victims of lies causing chaos because we live in a society that has one law for some and one for others. We have an elderly man whose head has exploded with the insidious idiocy pervading a world that blames his ilk for everything evil in today’s society, and we have those more interested in filming his descent into madness and murder, than stopping him. This common scenario is playing out in different guises everywhere.

      I think this is a deep subject and the blame doesn’t lie with those at the scene. It lies with those behind the scenes – the power-crazed, greedy and manipulative fat cats working for the deep state and stoking division and hatred from the dark, soulless shadows they govern from. I believe that unless we all start naming these evil culprits instead of tearing lumps out of and shooting one another (just as they have planned) we will lose sight of all hope… sadly, I think we’re too divided to turn back. I hope I’m wrong.

      Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        … also, let’s not forget that those blocking roads are paid to do so by those who have a vested interest in the chaos caused. The police are there to ensure they remain blocking the roads because they’re getting paid by the same serpents behind the scenes. The more I think about this manipulation, the more pissed off I’m getting… I must turn my hand to another moon poem… soon!

    • Lannie David Brockstein

      Joseph, you’ll probably hate me for saying this, but I’m not so “sick of environmentalists” that I condone that lawyer having murdered two protestors, even though they were blocking traffic like idiots.

      I’m not saying that poets should be prohibited from featuring fictional characters/speakers that are villains in their poems. There are villains featured in every episode of the fictional Star Trek television show, so why not in poems?

      I wouldn’t be surprised if that murderous lawyer was using a Big Pharma anti-depressant drug product that has “violent behavior, mania or aggression” as some of its possible side effects. But if so, that is no excuse.

      In reality, there is no such thing as anybody being savage in self-defence.

      From Lannie.

      Reply
      • Joseph S. Salemi

        To both Susan and Lannie —

        I understand your viewpoints, and I respect them. And I certainly don’t think that we should all just start blasting away with pistols whenever we get annoyed.

        But at a certain point in human history, things just get to such an unbearable boiling point that they can’t do anything else but explode. To Susan — when the first American colonist picked up his musket and said “I’ve had ENOUGH of this goddamned crap from Parliament,” that was when things reached an irrevocable breaking point between Britain and the colonies. To Lannie — that lawyer Darlington may have been taking something, but he also was quite self-possessed and calm in that video. He simply had had ENOUGH of those smirking, giggling, prancing little road-block protestors. He gave them a lesson that none of them will forget, and that two of them will remember for eternity.

        I wrote the poem praising him because at a certain point we have to let the enemy know (whether big-shots in the Deep State or their flunkies acting out in the streets) that we are NOT stationary targets for their persecution and abuse.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Thank you, Joe, you’ve given me a lot to think about.

  5. Phil S. Rogers

    Coons need the proper spices, or they can be a little ‘strong.’ In the case of a complete breakdown of our society, those in rural areas have deer, wild hogs, etc. and we go back to the Great Depression days. But with no law enforcement in large cities with millions who cannot escape, do we turn into Haiti?

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Phil, I’ve been on this site for five years now and the responses I get to my satirical poems now compared to the day I joined sends chills. A question like yours would never have cropped up then. I think Joe’s comment and my answer tells you we probably are heading the way of Haiti. When Americans are embroiled in such hatred for one another it ends in death… we’re already on the fringes of hell. Propaganda, lawlessness, the theft of our children’s bodies and minds by a government that promotes sterilization for minors, depopulation via toxic experimental shots etc. etc. tells me we’re in trouble – terrible trouble. I’ve gone from a lifelong optimist to a pessimist so quickly my head is still spinning. I really want to be proved wrong.

      Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      Phil, what a great question. The answer is yes. Haiti was robbed of all the earthquake contributions and has been suffering under the same progressive, starvation-inducing madness that we have. Now hundreds of thousands of these angry, hungry people are being delivered to our shores by the same people that made them angry and hungry. So, yes Phil… definitely. At least that is the plan.

      Reply
  6. C.B. Anderson

    Somehow the conversation shifted from toads to raccoons. When I lived in Arizona I ate raccoon — it was an improvised stew we called racoon gumbo. It was OK, but certainly no better than squirrel. I’ll spare you any account of other animals I ate back then, but I swear I never ate a toad — frogs maybe, but never a toad. To parallel the point you made above more than once, God gave us dominion …, but eat wisely.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      C.B., how interesting. Coming from England, raccoon was definitely off the menu. I feel it’s an acquired taste… one that I have no curiosity for… at the moment. After Phil’s comment, I might have to explore a few recipes. I think I’d rather eat a raccoon than a roach. Eating wisely is key. Thank you!

      Reply
  7. jd

    Enjoyed both, Susan, as well as the conversation following them. I especially liked the second for its rapid-fire unfurling. Your word usage is often so sharp one could almost bleed. That may sound strange but I mean it as a compliment.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      jd, what a lovely and encouraging comment. I adore words – their musicality and their meaning. Once in a while, I get them to fit together in a way that makes them sing… or “so sharp one could almost bleed” – what a great phrase, and a wonderful compliment. Thank you very much indeed!

      Reply
  8. Sally Cook

    When I was very young we had a neighbor who would eat just about anything. I’ve never forgotten a possum he had in a cage in his dining room; The sadness of that possum’s expression; the hopelessness in its eyes have stayed with me all those years. he didn’t have to eat a possum, but he was a mean old SOB and simply wanted to hurt something smaller than he. So when he cornered me alone to tell me he hated those who couldn’t DO things I vowed I would never become like him. But when my friend the Chicken Lady lost her chickens, whom she kept for eggs and considered her friends caught a racoon about to finish off the last remaining chicken and stabbed it with a pitchfork, I thought that was richly deserved.
    It’s all in the situation.
    By the way, I happen to like toads, but crossing the roads they’re on their own.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Sally, I’ve only just spotted this eye-opening comment. Thank you for the story of that mean old SOB and the Chicken Lady. You are right when you say “it’s all in the situation”. We have a possum who visits our backyard on a regular basis. I’ve named him “Skip” (the British and more appealing term for dumpster) as he eats every undesirable thing (dead or alive) in sight. He even dines on cat poop. What’s not to love!! He’s an asset and I’ll never eat him… for more than the “asset” reason. 🙂

      Reply

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