Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Ballad of Unadilla Bill

This is a wholly imagined story based on a real taxidermical wonder.

A cold and frosty morn' they stood,
Dekalb brims projected.
Plumed breath billows from underhood.
From the chill protected

By Carhart bibs in rust and green
And johnnies long beneath,
As on the cottonwood they lean
A small evergreen wreath.

"In memoriam" does it read,
But it is not enough
To pay the forfeit on a deed
That took him down so rough.

This wreath is for a whistle pig
Of legendary ilk,
Who laid to waste field and fig,
Who had a taste for silk.

Unadilla Bill was his name,
Scourge of seven counties.
From Idaho to Maine his fame.
Heavy were the bounties

They set upon his head to stop
The pillaging he did.
To whet his teeth--a leather strop,
And then he'd pry the lid

From cans of food or tanks of drink,
And he would drink his fill.
All would shudder whene'er they'd think
Of Unadilla Bill.

But one fine day he met his end,
And met it far too soon,
When he was gunned down by a friend,
The dread Rocky Raccoon.

The Racoon, he had been hired out
By all the town's elite;
They said the deed would give him clout;
They threw gold at his feet.

Ol' Rocky thought, "With all that cash
I'll win back my gal Lil--
McGill--Nancy." Then, with a crash,
He rushed out for the kill

And finished the job by that night.
The town was quite relieved,
But they soon became doubly grieved,
When the black sky turned white.

That night rose a spirit marmot,
A voice big as the sea,
It said, "You shouldn't have harmed it.
Now harken unto me.

"You all shall never forget it,
This day you all reckoned,
So set a day to regret it,
February second."

And so they do, these simple men,
Heavy hearts a-wormied
With guilt, for they have brought this end:
Bill is taxidermied.

They trot him out on his one day
and lay the wreath upon
the spot where he did pass away,
the place where Bill was gone.

Some years he casts a shadow down.
Some years, no shadow be.
But Bill can never look around:
Glass eyes can never see.

And even while the elders weep,
These men are still the victor,
For while Bill's soul lies fast asleep,
He's their spring predictor.

1 comment:

La Fashionista said...

Bravo! This may well be your most excellent post.

I see it fast-tracked to production with a star-filled cast featuring Andie McDowell (perhaps accompanied by a paper bag?)!

Wonderful work! I could read it again and again.