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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)

TITLE: Saints and Grasshoppers
By Helen Murray


Belac the Prince was mighty in spirit and Reppoh his adventuring mate.
They woke one morning on a brand new day, just bursting to get out through the gate.
In Adventure Land they wandered with excitement rising high,
They marvelled at the flora and they marvelled at the sky.

They marvelled at a million things they passed along the way –
The houses that some people built, the fashion of the day,
The cars that raced in clouds of dust to distant dreaming lands,
The assembling of clever musicians who could orchestrate in bands.

Belac gazed at houses architected in great style.
“I’ll build one just like that” he cackled with a white toothed smile.
It will be the very thing for an adventurer’s family retreat.
Its tables will be overflowing with every good thing to eat.

“I wish that I could have a house” cried Reppoh loud and clear.
I’d love to have my children growing up there year by year.
I don’t know how to get one though. The finance problem’s tough.
The money’s hard to come by and I never have enough.

“I’ll be back before too long” was Belac’s loud refrain.
This is the place I’ve dreamed of and I’ll fix to make it mine.
Inside will be palatial, fitted out for a princess
And a flock of charming children, ponies, toys and happy guests.

“It would be nice if I were rich and I could have one too.
I’d like to build mine right by yours. But what am I to do?
I’d have to be a lawyer to afford a thing like that.
But I don’t care for study. I’m a hippy and that’s flat.

So Belac went his merry way in empire building mode,
While Reppoh cringed among his friends and shared with them his load
Of worry that, while others reaped a harvest they had earned,
He couldn’t make first base – and they mourned with him as he moaned.

Prince Belac built his house upon the hill in sweat and tears
As he hit his thumb with hammers and got past financial fears.
His orchard grew and flourished and his growing children now
Would take some food to Reppoh who was pining, very low.

Reppoh’s friends agreed that when the Prince’s ship came in
With imports from an island for the market in the town,
That he should pay and share his wealth with everybody there,
And thus he’d help to raise them up in times of their despair.

They set about an action plan to raise a lobby group
To shame him into paying for their schools and other scoop.
Compassion flew around for Reppoh and his friends in trouble.
Belac built a school to teach their children how to rumble.

He had a vision glorious concerning what they’d learn,
Including principles of ethics, hard work. discipline.
The teaching of core subjects would be diligent and keen
So each growing child would have the chance of vision and a dream.

Reppoh then elected to have a say in education
Deciding what the school should teach his puny little children.
He’d teach them how to lobby for help to alleviate their misery,
And how they had rights to share the wealth of other people’s industry.

They should not have any principles and ethics brought upon them
That other people lived by. And the new concept of freedom
Would not limit a child to listening to a bossy teacher.
They should have fun at all costs. Isn’t fun life’s major feature?

Well, Reppoh had a lot of friends who liked to see things his way.
It was comfortable and easy, with no major responsibility.
His children grew believing fun is life’s great purpose given
And theirs by right (they’d lots of “rights”) in their crippled kind of haven.

But Belac taught his tribe to work and dream and make things happen.
“God gave you talents”, he used to say, “He’s expecting you to use them.
He designed, in us, from the very first, a people built to prosper –
And the more we do, the more He’ll show the opportunities on offer.

We will take care of those who are unable to work and toil,
Whose weakness truly limits them. They are annointed with the precious oil.
But don’t succumb to compassion for the man who makes excuses.
He may learn something when he suffers the “poor me” consequences”.

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This article has been read 609 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/07/08
What an epic! I'd have no idea how to go about writing such a long poem. I enjoyed this.
Patty Wysong02/09/08
Lots of truth in there! I saw how the title tied in when I read Reppoh backward, looking to see if there was significance there. ;-)
Lyn Churchyard02/10/08
Oh my, I can see a Bard wandering through villages telling this tale. This is great - very creative!
Julie Arduini02/11/08
Wow! A creative story, very well written, right down to the title!
c clemons02/13/08
Tried reading this but half thru lost interest, a little too long. I did read the last part and felt I got the point without all the middle. Started out very good, so overall you show talent.