Monday, August 7, 2017



Bertie, the bookworm, had gone to no college

And yet he was bursting with wisdom and knowledge.

He lunched on old papers and books, thick or slim—

Just any old volume was Wheaties to him!

So Bertie felt saucy and proud as a pup

For learning came easy.  He just ate it up.

He thought he was smarter than all other bugs:

The flies on the windows, the moths in the rugs,

The crickets that sing or mosquitoes that sting—

Smarter than any afoot or awing!

And he'd say as they watched him, observing him fatten:

Go `way:  I'm digesting a lecture in Latin."

"Let's teach him a lesson," said Minnie, the moth,

Thoughtfully chewing a morsel of cloth.

"Let's think up a question with plenty of punch,

Or some fact that he hasn't had yet for his lunch!"

"Yes, let's," said a solemn old spider named Harvey;

"Yeth, leth," lisped a chorus of newly-hatched larvae.

So the flies and the spiders, all sizes and models,

Dug up some hard questions that puzzled their noddles.

Bertie, they hoped, would look foolish, at best,

But he wasn't embarrassed at all by their test.

He simply glanced up from the book he was nibbling

And answered all questions without any quibbling.

The months jogged along.  He grew pompous and fat—

And of course, with a very good reason for that:

He'd discovered a Webster.  With relish and ease

He digested the pages clear through to the Zs.

But here Bertie finally met his comeuppance.

He gagged on "zymosis," "zygote," and "zygoma,"

And choking on "zyzzyva," fell in a coma.

                                                                           Leo Harrington

His plight might have been rather glum, I suppose,

And Bertie, perhaps, would have turned up his toes

Had Minnie not seen him and hastily said:

"You're a very sick bookworm!  Get right into bed!"

By degrees he improved, though it took quite a time,

But he will feel fine by the end of this rhyme,

And he won't be so saucy and vain any more,

Nor quite such a boastful, unpopular bore.

And if you should ask me the why and the how,

He's digesting an Essay on Modesty now!

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