D. Lawrence Ficklin
Once upon a distant time
There sat a house upon a lonesome road
Made out of thinnest timbers
Which could scarcely keep out the cold
These planks were held in place
By a collection of rusty nails
And together nail and planking
Made it through all sorts of ails
But one day the chiefest plank said:
'Why do we ourselves demean
By using all these rusty nails -
'Tis a thought at best obscene!
'I say that we be rid of nails
With e'en the tiniest flake of rust
Only in new stainless ones
Should we allow our trust.'
Said the oldest nail: 'It may be true
That we've rusted o'er the years
But forget not, dear friend of mine,
This rust comes from your tears.
'Were it not for us fine, rusty nails,
Your fate would be decided
Your planks would jumble to the ground
And be by the world derided.'
Now the chiefest plank was a prideful thing,
Full of insolence and scorn
To the rest he said, 'Listen to the nails!
This insult shall not be borne!'
And all at once the plankings stirred
In indignation most severe
And said to the nails: 'Be off with you!
You've no welcome to remain here!'
And one by one and two by two
The nails sadly went off to weep,
And the plankings smiled with content-
And then collapsed into a heap.