Popcorn, Glass Balls, and Cranberries by Vachel Lindsay
I. THE LION
The Lion is a kingly beast. He likes a Hindu for a feast. And if no Hindu he can get, The lion-family is upset.
He cuffs his wife and bites her ears Till she is nearly moved to tears. Then some explorer finds the den And all is family peace again.
II. AN EXPLANATION OF THE GRASSHOPPER
The Grasshopper, the grasshopper, I will explain to you:— He is the Brownies' racehorse, The fairies' Kangaroo.
III. THE DANGEROUS LITTLE BOY FAIRIES
In fairyland the little boys Would rather fight than eat their meals. They like to chase a gauze-winged fly And catch and beat him till he squeals. Sometimes they come to sleeping men Armed with the deadly red-rose thorn, And those that feel its fearful wound Repent the day that they were born.
IV. THE MOUSE THAT GNAWED THE OAK-TREE DOWN
The mouse that gnawed the oak-tree down Began his task in early life. He kept so busy with his teeth He had no time to take a wife.
He gnawed and gnawed through sun and rain When the ambitious fit was on, Then rested in the sawdust till A month of idleness had gone.
He did not move about to hunt The coteries of mousie-men. He was a snail-paced, stupid thing Until he cared to gnaw again.
The mouse that gnawed the oak-tree down, When that tough foe was at his feet — Found in the stump no angel-cake Nor buttered bread, nor cheese, nor meat — The forest-roof let in the sky. "This light is worth the work," said he. "I'll make this ancient swamp more light," And started on another tree.
Where does Cinderella sleep? By far-off day-dream river. A secret place her burning Prince Decks, while his heart-strings quiver.
Homesick for our cinder world, Her low-born shoulders shiver; She longs for sleep in cinders curled — We, for the day-dream river.
VI. THE SPIDER AND THE GHOST OF THE FLY
Once I loved a spider When I was born a fly, A velvet-footed spider With a gown of rainbow-dye. She ate my wings and gloated. She bound me with a hair.
She drove me to her parlor Above her winding stair. To educate young spiders She took me all apart. My ghost came back to haunt her. I saw her eat my heart.
VII. CRICKETS ON A STRIKE
The foolish queen of fairyland From her milk-white throne in a lily-bell, Gave command to her cricket-band To play for her when the dew-drops fell.
But the cold dew spoiled their instruments And they play for the foolish queen no more. Instead those sturdy malcontents Play sharps and flats in my kitchen floor.