Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Fishing of the Professor

The professor could not be seen, only piles of twine;
“What’s that?” asked the fisherman. The reply: “My handline.”

“What’s your bait?” “A strand of my granddaughter’s hair.”
“It won’t work,” declared the fisherman. “It’s too fair.”

“My granddaughter’s hairs have caught many a swordfish.
Your flies only catch minnows, and none that are biggish.”

They went together through the woods to the brook.
One tied on his fly; the other, a hair on his hook.

The professor let out his line, mile after mile
At last the fisherman said, with a bit of a smile,

“If you let out much more, you’ll be fishing in the sea.”
Then, “Argh! Another little minnow. Dirge-dump! Gee!

“Those’re all I’ve caught; three hundred nineteen—”
“Good,” said the professor, “my bait has been seen.”

He began yanking it in. “For my kind of bait,
the fish don’t hit, so you don’t have to wait.”

Soon after, the creek water began to rise;
it came up until it enveloped their thighs.

The fisherman, much alarmed, cried out in dismay.
The prof said, “It’s only my fish swimming this way.”

Nearly blocking the stream, it came into view,
bigger than the fisherman’s minnows, all 562.

“What is that fish?”—“I am sure that you know.
It’s a sort of shark that died out long ago.”

The fisherman replied in a voice much too loud—
the type of voice that is likely to gather a crowd—

“I challenge you to a duel with a cowboy friend of mine,
one who’ll turn you to mincemeat and feed you to swine.”

One—they stood at opposite—two—ends of the street—three.
The cowboy’s gun was halfway up when—bang-kablammy!

—it blew up. The professor hadn’t brought his gun;
he explained very carefully why he didn’t need one:

“Do not worry. I’ll fire tomorrow. My bullet is fast:
when I shoot it, it flies swiftly back into the past.”

The fisherman and the cowboy went together to the old bar.
It’s said that between them they downed a good deal of tar.

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