Friday, April 22, 2011

The Great Bunny Rabbit Uprising of Somety-Aught Something Or Other: An Epic Poem

The composition of the epic poem is a noble and time-honoured undertaking and is not for the faint of heart. The first and most important step in the writing process is the selection of a suitably historic event worthy of being rhymed. Poems have been composed on historical subjects as diverse as King Arthur and Paul Revere and even some people who didn’t ride horses. But I chose a story with a more local flair. Yes, I speak of none but the Great Bunny Rabbit Uprising of Somety-Aught-Something-Or-Other.

Perhaps the most devastating bunny-related day in Kentucky’s history, it seemed to me to be screaming out from the page. Screaming the way that the lead rabbit did as he led his brethren down that hillside and into the pages of history. I immediately resolved to take on the difficult challenge of composing a suitably epic poem in honor of those bunnies whose lives were lost on that fateful day.

‘Twas long, long ago, give or take a few years
When the good people had to face up to their fears.
I don’t quite recall, because I wasn’t there,
But I’ve heard the tale told and it gave me a scare.
I’ll tell it to you, but I’ll warn from the start:
This story is not for the fainter of heart.
But I’ll tell to you all if you haven’t read up
On the day that the bunnies got good and fed up

On the Flannery farm, things were going okay
And the farmer woke up as he faced the new day.
Then he filled up his lungs with some fresh country air
And he looked out across the farm land in his care.
He looked to the east and examined the corn;
He looked west at the cows in the bright, early morn.
But then came the moment all farmers are ruing
When he said “What in tarnation is that bunny doin’?”

The bunny in question was doing not much:
He was standing there chatting, small-talking and such
With a couple of pigs who he’d known for some time.
Surely talking to friends can’t be thought of as crime.
Now, real rabbit names are a difficult trick.
Just trying to say them makes humans feel sick.
So rather than start when I’ll just have to stop, he
Will heretofore after be known as just “Floppy.”

But the nice conversation would come to close
When Floppy heard something that wiggled his nose.
A gunshot! It rang out not ten feet away
And the farmer, advancing, could be heard to say,
“Gwan! Git outa here, you floppy-eared rat!”
And the shotgun went off with a deafening “blat!”
The time for such pleasantries clearly had passed.
With no word to the pigs, Floppy left that place fast!

He ran and he ran like, well, a rabbit I guess,
Until he was quite far away from distress.
He sat by the roots of an overgrown tree
And he cried. Yes, he cried. Just like you or me.
For poor little Floppy was very confused,
Cuz clearly the farmer had not been amused.
But why should he feel so violent and mad
At a wee little bunny? They can’t be that bad!

It was quite a few hours before he went back
To the warren he lived in with Orville and Mack
And Syvlia and Chauncey and Big Foot McGee
And all of the folks in his large family,
And when his mother saw him, I swear, I’m not lying
It only took seconds to see he’d been crying.
She asked him just why he was looking so grim
And he told her of all that had happened to him.

As he finished his story, the tears came again.
They fell down his cheeks like a cool summer rain.
“I was only just talking,” he cried to his mum
“So why did he treat me like some kind of bum?
“What did I do that could get him so mad?”
“Nothing,” said Mommy. “That man is just bad.
“And I’ll tell your father what happened to you
“And see if he can’t think of something to do.”

Now, maybe your father’s employed at a bank
And he may have worked hard to get up to that rank,
But for Floppy that job would’ve seemed very boring
For his dad was none other than Mayor of the Warren.
His name, as I said, would be tricky to utter
So we’ll call him “Charlie,” which is smoother than butter.
And though leading the rabbits was the pride of his life
He always made time for his son and his wife.

“Yes, dear?” said Charlie, when his wife came around
“What do you need me to—wait, what’s that sound?”
He had heard the faint whimper of small rabbit pup
Sniffling through tears and sucking it up.
Floppy’s mother explained the events of that day
And then Charlie said nothing. What was there to say?
He thought for a moment then said to his son
“I’ll take care of it,” and he left at a run.

“Attention! Attention! Look, everyone zip it!
“We’ve all got a problem and we’re going to nip it
“Right in the bud, now silence, I beg,
“And I’ll tell you how—Bernie, stop shaking your leg!”
Floppy’s Dad Charlie now stood at the head
Of the Rabbit’s High Council, a much honor-ed
Body of bunnies. And once they were silent
He told them a story both shocking and violent.

And when it was over, all their faces were grave
(Even Bernie whose leg at last now ceased to wave).
It was for these rabbits, all sizes, all kinds,
To all come together and make up their minds.
Until, with one voice, they were able to make
A decision on what kind of action to take.
For fully three days the debating wore on.
It ended at last on the following dawn.

And the rabbits, who’d lived their whole lives “in the stew”
Would all band together. They knew just what to do.

The following morning on Flanery’s farm
Nothing had happened to cause him alarm.
The cattle were mooing, the horse saying “nay,”
All in all, things were perfectly pleasant that day.
Until all at once to old Flannery’s ears
Came a sound he’d not heard in quite a few years
Or ever, for that matter, for this scary sound
Was a kind of a rumbling deep underground.

An earthquake? No, no, that’s not possible, is it?
Perhaps someone large has come by for a visit?
Not large, rather numerous; he looked up the hill
And saw such a sight that he dreams of it still:
For out from their holes and descending en masse,
Were about three or four hundred rabbits! Alas!
For the pounding of each tiny paw on the ground
Had been cause of that strange sort of rumbling sound.

Flannery stood there, what else could he do?
As he stared in dumb silence assessing the view
Of hundreds of bunnies now charging his land.
Something had clearly gone well out of hand.
And he looked at the problem and thought, as would you,
“Just what exactly am I s’posed to do?
“My farm’s being charged by a few hundred bunnies;
“This kind of disaster comes straight from the funnies.”

And charge him they did, with all of their speed
(A few of them stopping to graze and to feed),
But most of them running with all of their might
To fight against hate in the soft morning light.
And Charlie himself, and his family too
Were right out in front and leading the crew
Of rabbits whose minds were full up with their goal:
To never again be chased down a hole
To never be treated like vermin or rats
To never be threatened by beagle or cats
To be free! Ah, yes, free! To live as they please
Is the right of all creatures, from camels to fleas.

But something occurred as the charging continued
(To voice any questions right now would hae been rude)
But across every mind of each bunny that day
A question came up they were too scared to say.
As they gradually neared the old Flannery farm
These rabbits had thoughts that caused each one alarm.
“We’re advancing quite nicely. Yes, that much is true
“But once we get down there...just what do we do?”

“We haven’t got fangs or sharp claws like a bear,
“We haven’t got weapons to fire in the air.
“We have greater numbers, this can’t be denied,
“But rabbits aren’t fighters. We’ve not even tried!
“When facing down danger it’s rabbit tradition
“To run for the hills. Now this dangerous mission
“Will surely end badly for me and for you.
“I feel like this plan wasn’t really thought through.”

So the uprising failed; we all knew it would.
At fighting and clawing, rabbits just ain't that good.
But the news is still good from this botched operation,
And that’s why this day is known throughout the nation.
For though he was not so afraid of the bunnies,
He did think the sight of their charge was quite funny.
And Flannery vowed from that day till tomorrow
To stop filling their lives up with grief and with sorrow.

A truce! Yes indeed, a most noble endeavor.
A peace among species to last till forever.
And an honor bestowed upon all rabbit kind.
For if you consider the date, you will find
That the great bunny uprising, so long ago,
Took place on a Sunday I think we all know.
And every year since on this wonderful day
We commemorate rabbits in some special way.

So that’s why a bunny makes each Easter greater.
As for the eggs? Er, well…ask again later!


Next Week: "The Nine Dancing Princesses"

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