Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Flashlight

In response to my post about funerals, some have asked me about my reference to "the flashlight poem." As it happens, I occasionally dabble in poetry. Some of my more memorable compositions are bits of doggerel of the cowboy poetry genre. I write other types of poetry as well, but I'm the first to admit that I'm no great poet. I mostly do write for my own entertainment and sometimes for campfire fun.

I rather like cowboy poetry because it's kind of rough around the edges. As such, it's rather flexible and forgiving. Much like the whimsical styles of Lewis Carroll and Dr. Seuss, words can be twisted to rhyme (or words can even be made up), meter can be varied, and other liberties can be taken. This particular poem sounds best if you say it out loud with somewhat of a cowboy twang.

My best cowboy poems relate true stories—actual events. Such is the case with the flashlight poem. This really happened to a boy in our troop at camp a few years ago. Every word is absolutely accurate.

Dyed-in-the-wool scouters will appreciate the poem without any introduction. But for others it is helpful to know that the word "kybo" is a Boy Scout euphemism for a latrine or an outhouse, usually of the pit variety. (There are a number of theories about the origin of this word, but that's not important for this post.)

Without further ado, my poem, The Flashlight.

It was dark that night in the kybo
As he stood there trying to aim steady,
But needing both paws he held clenched in his jaws
A flashlight from EverReady.

But the weight of D batteries is tough on a jaw
And his saliva started to flow.
Then from his wet lip that light made a slip
And tumbled right through that oval hole.

Now, as luck would have it, that light light on a ledge
Just above that deep pool of waste,
So he reached down in there with the greatest of care
And retrieved it with all due haste.

He rinsed it, then coated it with hand sanitizer
From its north end down to its south.
But one thing's for sure
It'll be a long time before
He puts that thing back in his mouth.

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