Arthur Guiterman

(1871-1943 / United States)

The Legend Of The First Cam-U-El: An Arabian Apologue - Poem by Arthur Guiterman

Across the sands of Syria,
Or possibly Algeria,
Or some benighted neighborhood of barrenness and drouth,
There came the Prophet Samu-u-el
Upon the Only Cam-u-el –
A bumpy, grumpy Quadruped of discontented mouth.

The atmosphere was glutinous;
The Cam-u-el was mutinous;
He dumped the pack from off his back; with
Horrid grunts and squeals
He made the desert hideous;
With strategy perfidious
He tied his neck in curlicues, he kicked his paddy heals.

Then quoth the gentle Sam-u-el,
“You rogue, I ought to lam you well!
Though zealously I’ve shielded you from every
grief and woe,
It seems, to voice a platitude,
You haven’t any gratitude.
I’d like to hear what cause you have for doing
thus and so!”

To him replied the Cam-u-el,
“I beg your pardon, Sam-u-el,
I know that I’m a Reprobate, I know that I’m a
Freak;
But, oh! This utter loneliness!
My too-distinguished Onliness!
Were there but other Cam-u-els I wouldn’t be
unique.”

The Prophet beamed beguilingly.
“Aha,” he answered, smilingly,
“You feel the need of company? I clearly under-
stand.
We’ll speedily create for you
The corresponding made for you –
Ho! Presto, change-o, dinglebat!” – he waved a
potent hand,
And lo! From out Vacuity
A second Incongruity,
To wit, a Lady Cam-u-el was born through magic
art.
Her structure anatomical,
Her form and face were comical;
She was, in short, a Cam-u-el, the other’s counter-
part.

As Spaniards gaze on Aragon,
Upon that Female Paragon
So gazed the Prophet’s Cam-u-el, that primal
Desert Ship.
A connoisseur meticulous,
He found her that ridiculous
He grinned from ear to auricle until he split his lip!

Because of his temerity
That Cam-u-el’s posterity
Must wear divided upper lips through all their
solemn lives!
A prodigy astonishing
Reproachfully admonishing
Those wicked, heartless married men who ridicule their wives.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010



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