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In a house at the end of Liberty Lane
lives a man named Lavender Mudge.
When I was a girl my grandmother asked me
to bring him a plateful of fudge.
He’s not always friendly with children, she said,
but it’s only because he is old.
We should always be kind to our neighbours, she said,
for kindness is dearer than gold.

So I took him the plateful and knocked on his door,
expecting an ogre or worse.
He invited me in to his trim little house;
over tea, he read me some verse
from a book that he slammed. This is trash, he said.
I’d expect nothing more from a ring-a-ding.
Not quite the description he used, then he said,
but you’re just a kid. You don’t know anything.

Today in the house at Liberty Lane,
there still lives a man named Lavender Mudge.
He doesn’t come out much, has little to say,
but this morning, I brought him some fudge.
There’s really no hope for the world, he said,
over tea that tasted like sludge.
But don’t look at me! I warned them, he said,
good old Lav of Perpetual Grudge.

Author’s note: This ditty is a shameless attempt to emulate Rudyard Kipling’s rollicking narrative poem called “The Egg-Shell”. A friend posted it on Facebook this morning, and I was immediately agog. If you’re curious, look it up. You’ll see what I mean. For all Kipling’s flaws (and we’ve all got ‘em), when he was on fire, he was genius.


© Elaine Stirling, 2018
Image of Crooked Man by Ken Lamug