Carolyn Wells

(1869-1942 / the United States)

An Alphabet Zoo


A was an apt Alligator,
Who wanted to be a head-waiter;
He said, 'I opine
In that field I could shine,
Because I am such a good skater.'

B was a beggarly Bear,
Who carefully curled his front hair;
He said, 'I would buy
A red-spotted tie,--
But I haven't a penny to spare.'

C was a cool Chimpanzee,
Who went to an afternoon tea.
When they said, 'Will you take
A caraway cake?'
He greedily took twenty-three!

D was a diligent Doe,
In summer she shovelled the snow;
In the spring and the fall
She did nothing at all,
And in winter the grass she would mow.

E was an erudite Ermine,
Who tried very hard to determine
If he _should_ earn a cent,
How it ought to be spent,
And decided to purchase a sermon.

F was a fussy Flamingo,
Who remarked to his family, 'By jingo!
I think I would go
To that animal show,
But they all talk such barbarous lingo.'

G was a giddy Gazelle,
Who never could learn how to spell;
But she managed to pass
To the head of her class,
Because she did fractions so well.

H was a haughty young Hawk,
Who affected society talk;
But when introduced
At a large chicken roost
He excitedly screamed out, 'Oh, Lawk!'

I was an idle Iguana,
Who lived upon curried banana;
With tears he'd protest
That he never could rest
Till he learned to sing 'Eileen Alanna.'

J was a jimp Jaguar,
Who purchased a Spanish guitar;
He played popular airs
At _fetes_ and at fairs,
And down at the Fancy Bazaar.

K was a kind Kangaroo,
Whose bonnet was always askew;
So they asked her to wait
While they put it on straight
And fastened it firmly with glue.

L was a lachrymose Leopard,
Who ate up twelve sheep and a shepherd,
But the real reason why
He continued to cry
Was his food was so lavishly peppered.

M was a mischievous Marten,
Who went to the Free Kindergarten;
When they asked him to plat
A gay-colored mat,
He tackled the job like a Spartan.

N was a naughty Nylghau,
Who wandered too near a buzz saw.
It cut off his toes,
And the shrieks that arose
Filled all of the neighbors with awe.

O was an ossified Oyster,
Who decided to enter a cloister.
He could not return,
So continued to yearn
For his home in the sea, which was moister.

P was a poor old Poll Parrot,
Who had nothing to eat but a carrot,
And nothing to wear
But a wig of red hair,
And nowhere to live but a garret.

Q was a querulous Quab
Who at every trifle would sob;
He said, 'I detest
To wear a plaid vest,
And I hate to eat corn from the cob!'

R was a rollicking Ram,
Attired in an old pillow sham.
When asked if he'd call
At the masquerade ball,
He said, 'I'll go just as I am.'

S was a shy Salamander,
Who slept on a sunny veranda.
She calmly reposed,
But, alas! while she dozed
They caught her and killed her and canned her.

T was a tidy young Tapir,
Who went out to bring in the paper;
And when he came back
He made no muddy track,
For he wiped his feet clean on the scraper.

U was a young Unicorn,
The bravest that ever was born.
They bought him a boat
And they set him afloat,
And straightway he sailed for Cape Horn.

V was a vigorous Vulture,
Who taught animals physical culture;
When a pupil dropped dead,
The kind teacher said,
'You needn't consider sepulture.'

W was a wild Worm,
All day he did nothing but squirm.
They sent him to school,
But he broke every rule,
And left at the end of the term.

X was a Xiphias brave,
Who lived on the crest of the wave.
To each fish he would say,
'Good day, sir, good day!'
And then a polite bow he gave.

Y was a young Yellowhammer,
Who raised a ridiculous clamor;
And he chattered until
An owl said, 'Keep still!
I'm trying to study my grammar.'

Z was a zealous old Zibet,
Toboggans he tried to prohibit.
If any one tried
To take a sly slide,
He ordered him hanged on a gibbet.

Submitted: Monday, September 13, 2010

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