A Thief Born Early - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich
Two boys, both blond and blue of eye
were playing at the Lorelei.
As foreign ships passed near the cliff
bold flags in morning frost were stiff.
The elder brother, to annoy
had brought with him his latest toy.
A fire engine, painted red
(at night it parked beneath his bed) ,
had been reward for A's and B's
and from his belt hung silver keys.
You'd wind the spring to set the stage
and soon the motor would engage,
the truck went wild, with bells and whistles
and raced through grass and forest thistles.
The boy, whose birthday was outstanding,
at first was timid, then demanding.
Though younger by a year and some
he suddenly was overcome
by hot desire for the toy,
which did not please the older boy.
He grabbed and pulled the object free
inserted then the silver key
and launched the vehicle with skill
in the direction of a hill.
Meanwhile, the victim (his own brother) ,
was calling loudly for his mother,
who, hearing cries of desperation
abandoned her accustomed station,
which was the stove, needless to say.
She cooked and let the children play.
The mother saw the boys ascending
the cliff to where the path was ending,
and from the windswept, rocky top
the fire engine flew non-stop
to raging waters far below
the robber yelled 'Oh What A Show! '
A conference was soon convened,
and grandpa, who disliked a fiend,
explained the logic of the law
which, in the end, the young boy saw.
And when the engine was retrieved
both boys and mother were relieved.
A dent below the driver's door
was quickly fixed. They found no more
in damages, the truck was tough.
Built in Berlin, which says enough.
As grandpa who was still a teacher
and had been acting like a preacher,
explained to two bewildered boys
about the ownership of toys.
It soon sank in that what is mine
cannot be dropped into the Rhine
by other boys who may be strong.
Thus, taking things is always wrong.
Unless the item of desire
is given freely, or for hire.
The victim now put in the key
and turned it quickly, just to see
if damages had, during flight
occurred to structures deep inside.
If anything, the truck drove faster,
had gone unscathed through the disaster.
The boys grew up and soon forgot
the incident, or did they not?
So often, when a lesson's learned
an inner quality is earned.
And now and then a thief is cured
at once, and you can be assured
that little boys grow into men,
remembering, just now and then,
those dramas of their early days
when parents showed them rules and ways.
Don't ask me whether it be fact
that, what the older brother lacked
stems from the drama near the Rhine?
In sweet revenge, he took what's mine.
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