(Poem #1576) I Had a Hippopotamus
I had a hippopotamus; I kept him in a shed And fed him upon vitamins and vegetable bread. I made him my companion on many cheery walks, And had his portrait done by a celebrity in chalks. His charming eccentricities were known on every side. The creature's popularity was wonderfully wide. He frolicked with the Rector in a dozen friendly tussles, Who could not but remark on his hippopotamuscles. If he should be affected by depression or the dumps By hippopotameasles or hippopotamumps I never knew a particle of peace 'till it was plain He was hippopotamasticating properly again. I had a hippopotamus, I loved him as a friend But beautiful relationships are bound to end. Time takes, alas! our joys from us and robs us of our blisses. My hippopotamus turned out to be a hippopotamissus. My housekeeper regarded him with jaundice in her eye. She did not want a colony of hippopotami. She borrowed a machine gun from her soldier-nephew, Percy And showed my hippopotamus no hippopotamercy. My house now lacks the glamour that the charming creature gave. The garage where I kept him is as silent as a grave. No longer he displays among the motor-tires and spanners His hippopotamastery of hippopotamanners. No longer now he gambols in the orchard in the Spring; No longer do I lead him through the village on a string; No longer in the mornings does the neighborhood rejoice To his hippopotamusically-modulated voice. I had a hippopotamus, but nothing upon the earth Is constant in its happiness or lasting in its mirth. No life that's joyful can be strong enough to smother My sorrow for what might have been a hippopotamother.
Many thanks to Prabhash Gokaran , who went through our hippo theme [Poem #844 onwards] and wanted to know why the funniest one of the lot was not included. Well, the simple answer is that at the time I had never read it before - and, with a little prodding from Prabhash, I'm delighted to finally add it to the collection. Of course, one of the first things I was struck by was the similarity of the opening lines to "The Diplomatic Platypus" [Poem #1028] by the same poet, but apart from this and a similarity of metre, "Hippopotamus" is a different sort of silliness from "Platypus". Indeed, it leans more towards the "children's poem" end of the spectrum, with its plethora of hippopotamorped words and delightfully contrived rhymes, and the sheer delicious ruthlessness of She borrowed a machine gun from her soldier-nephew, Percy And showed my hippopotamus no hippopotamercy. One thing that jarred slightly was the broken metre in the lines Who could not but remark on his hippopotamuscles. and My hippopotamus turned out to be a hippopotamissus. Could someone with a print copy confirm that these are indeed accurate? martin [Links] The other poem this reminded me (tangentially) of was "I Had a Little Pony": [broken link] http://www.amherst.edu/~rjyanco/literature/mothergoose/rhymes/ihadalittlepony.html We've run one other poem of Barrington's, Poem #1028 And what is surely the motherlode of hippo poems on the net: http://members.aol.com/HippoPage/hipppoem.htm