Dear Mr. Whippy

Dear Mr. Whippy

Mr. Whippy is ganging up on me
With his gang of thugs
And his alphabets
He hems and hrumphs and I know
He knows how to rap knuckles
With that stick
He keeps telling me
That Diacritacal marks come later
First learn to make the lines
‘But,’ I protest, ‘I fear that
My pronunciation is quite off.’
He sucks in his mustache and his lips disappear
Underneath his disapproving
But very discerning over-lip hair
And when John Dee
Makes his foot notes
In another tongue
I know that Mr. Whippy will translate for me
But with many a disapproving air
At kids these days
Who aren’t taught ancient Greek
And barely read Latin at all
How remiss my classical education
He will groan between making marks in shorthand
(Another dying art! Ah, why don’t they teach
the children shorthand?)
Dear Mr. Whippy, I fear of opening
The door of every room of learning
My brain is only so big
And I haven’t read all the classics
My education is appalling
Why bother to read them at all
If not in their native tongues?
It’s with dragging feet that I carry my notebooks
And my tomes
To Mr. Whippy’s door
And hope he won’t berate me
I fear my head will explode
If I try to learn any more!

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