Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Ballad of Colonel McCob (The Corn)

Lately, I've been seeking inspiration in the books of my favorite children's poet, Jack Prelutsky. For this poem, though, I reread "The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert W. Service. If Service had been corny (*ahem*) enough to go for corn puns, I like to think he'd have written something like this.

The Ballad of Colonel McCob (The Corn)

"Gather 'round, all you children," said old Grandpa Corn,
"There's a story you young folks should hear.
Took place several decades before you were born,
And now it's passed down ear to ear.
Concerns a brave colonel I knew in the war -
By the name of MacArthur McCob
He was sweet on the outside, but tough to the core;
Protecting the land was his job.

Every morning at four, he took post at the door,
And patrolled the whole field until dusk.
Under his watchful eye, not an hour slipped by -
Never once did he rest in his husk.

If a carrot or beet ever tried to take root,
Why, MacArthur would tackle the varmint!
Not a leek would sneak past, not a caper or shoot,
'Twas a cornfield - no others would harm it.

I once saw Mac sack a potato;
With a cabbage, he went head-to-head
He minced onions, and would tie a tomato
To a tree, 'til his face turned bright red.

Not a soul dared to call McCob yellow,
Even though, as you know, that's our hue.
He would ransack a radish, yammer at yams,
And sever a parsnip in two.

His methods were fierce, but quite fruitful, indeed
Generations of corn could stand tall.
There wasn't so much as a hybrid cornseed,
With McCob overseeing it all.

But tragedy came out of nowhere one day,
(More precisely, it came from the ground.)
While shoving a trespassing shallot away,
Mac sadly failed to look down.

He heard a loud POP, then the whole place went black.
The shooter, he still couldn't see
It seems that McCob had come under attack
By a silent and stealthy green pea.

Mac's fingers and toes went bloated and numb,
But his body felt pleasantly light.
Like the arms of a friend, a soft gust of wind
Swept him into the dark, waiting night.

That might have been Mac's final curtain,
As he drifted off into the fog
But! I happen to know this for certain -
There's a fitting and true epilogue:
McCob made his way toward the city,
With that new, puffy body of his
He never surrendered or quit, he
Made a new life, pursuing showbiz!

Now, he's frequently seen in the theater seats,
Watching Hollywood films in the dark.
Never brutish or salty to people he meets -
No he's happy, they say, as a lark.
There's never a turnip to threaten, or a militant eggplant to maul
For, as everyone knows, at theater shows,
There are no fresh veggies at all.


  1. No fresh veggies! All that. And no fresh veggies.

  2. Good stuff. You really need to collect all of your food poems and submit them for publication. I have no idea how one goes about doing that, but you should.

    I need to print this and a few of your other poems so that I can read them to Henry at bedtime.

    I can tuck them into his Scranimal Island book.

  3. This is pretty awesome, Miss Jesse! I actually laughed out loud!


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