If ducks be here, Lord love â€˜em,*â€¨
For ducks** were made by Him:
â€¨Like lambs and tigers,*** sticks and stones,â€¨
Whales and whistles, broken bones,â€¨
Dogs and squirrels, cats**** and mice,
â€¨Girls***** and gimmicks, fire and ice.
â€¨And, if ducks, then children,****** too;
â€¨Which is to say, the Lord made you.*******
* There is, as the most precocious among you will already know, a saying about ducks and lords and love which has a profound and mystical meaning at its heart, as the Professor is attempting to show, and so will not spoil by giving it away here.
** Among, as is about to become apparent, a host of other things (though not, clearly, individually), several billion of which are not mentioned here, but at least two handfuls of which are.
*** The Professor thanks his auspicious and decidedly dead colleague, William Blake, for the notion, which can be found in his haunting and intricately illustrated book, Songs of Innocence and Experience. Indeed, the image above the poem is a portion of one such illustration, which is why it is of lambs and not of ducks. (The tiger, as it turns out, is hiding on another page.)
**** The Professor has included cats against his better judgment.
***** This fact will, perhaps, surprise young male readers, but it is true, and the Professor is pressed to report that girls are not only more interesting than boys in the main, but they also generally smell better.
****** Do not, under any circumstances, allow your parents or your older brother to convince you otherwise.
******* Which is not to say that He meddled in any particular or immediate way in your makingâ€”that is entirely your parentsâ€™ faultâ€”rather He made the system by and into which you were born, which he occasionally bumps and nudges, but only, the Professor suspects, when invited to.
Nor can He be held responsible for broken bones or other maladies and misfortunes. Such things are, we must accept, a part of life. To think otherwise is to engage something called a â€œtheosophy,â€ which is box-like, awkward, cumbersome, but ultimately less weighty or important than it thinks it is.
In any event, Mr. Blakeâ€™s lamb would agree, bleatingly.
Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle, PhD, is, as many of you already know, handsome and brilliant and hard at work at several collections of poetry for people, especially smallish and precocious ones.