Thursday, April 30, 2020

Poem For A Thursday (#pocketpoem)


Ben-Arabie was the Camel
  Belonging to the Zoo.
He lived there through a dozen years,
  With nothing much to do,
But chew, and chew, and chew, and chew,
  And chew, and chew, and chew. 
He wondered when he might go home,--
  And what they kept him for;
Because he hated Zooish sounds
  And perfumes--more and more;--
Decidedly he hated them
  Much more, and more, and more. 
And why the world turned white and cold
  He did not understand.
He only wanted lots of sun
  And lots and lots of sand;
Just sand, and sand, and sand, and sand,
  And sand, and sand, and sand. 
He longed to see an Arab Sheik,
  And Arab girls and boys;
The kind of noise he yearned for most
  Was plain Arabian noise;
(The sound  of little drums and flutes
  And all that sort of noise.)
He leant against the wind to hear 
  The sound of harness bells;
He sniffed the air for scent of spice
  The nomad merchant sells;
He dreamed of pleasant tinkling bells,
  Of spice, and tinkling bells. 
The keepers said that he grew queer.
  They wondered why he sighed;
The called him supercilious
  And crabbed and sun-dried;
(Indeed he was quite crabbed and
  Exceedingly sun-dried.) 
But ere his woolly fur was gone
  They put him on a train--
For a rich old Arab bought him
  And sent him home again;--
O joyous day! He sent him home;
  He sent him home again!

-Virna Sheard

The biographical note from my Canadian Poems says:
Sheard, Virna (d. 1943) Born in Cobourg, Ontario; educated there and in Toronto. Author of several books of fiction, for children and adults; her selected poems, Leaves in the Wind, appeared in 1938.
I learned from Deb Nance that today, the last day of National Poetry Month, is also Poem in a Pocket day. Share a poem on social media. Well, alright then! For a weekly poem, see Holds Upon Happiness. This week it's Jane Kenyon.


  1. shades of Edward Lear, there... love it...

    1. It does suggest Lear, doesn't it?

    2. mrs. m is making me read "Iron John"; so far it's kind of weird...

    3. I'll be curious to see what you think!

    4. i read it... RB's a brilliant classicist in some ways, but he's rather like a sculptor who is totally focused on his rock to the complete avoidance of the outside world... using Grimm and BC references to justify his conclusions seemed a bit over the rainbow... and it got annoying after a while... (so i hope you're not a dedicated aficionado)

    5. No, that's good! I've always half-wondered if I should read the book--might still I suppose--but I'm glad to take your word for it I don't need to rush to it...

  2. What a cute poem. It totally made me smile. :)

  3. Ah Edward Lear is probably it. I was going to saw Lewis Carroll but it's not bizarre enough!

    1. It doesn't quite have the surrealness of Lear either, but (It's not The Owl and the Pussycat, for instance.) but it's closer. Maybe it's in the use of the echo-ey refrains.