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All Hands On Deck

Listen to Fritz read this poem

The rain, seemingly interminable, had come to a halt;

An end to the predicted, elongated celestial hydro-assault.

Noah and the passengers finally breathed a sigh of relief.

Parting clouds allowed rays of sunshine nearly beyond belief.

“All hands on deck,” the seafarer roared.

“All hands on deck for all those aboard.

Time for fresh air, fresh air we need, as our nostrils detect.

All hands on deck! With all due respect,

The holds have become fetid, fusty, musty with foul fumes.

We must escape them lest they become our temporary tombs.

Clear the air, clear the way, gather on the deck.”

But alas! There was no deck,

No quarterdeck, no foredeck, no soup deck;

Only as some sotte voce declared, the first ever poop deck.

Quickly teams of workers were organized for the task.

Roof was partly unroofed, walls were partly unwalled—

Cooperative work, as at the ark’s construction, was recalled.

Lumber scraps joined to fashion flooring.

Beams bolted starboard and port for possible mooring.

Work completed, the captain bellowed once more

For a convocation of the entire multi-specied corps.

“I congratulate all of you on your maiden voyage.

We survived the torrent—

Now—a task more current.

Underneath these waters a new world will appear.

And you, my furry, feathered friends, have no fear,

You must use all creative imagination available

To create a menagerie unassailable.

Use your orchestral wit, your symphonic sonority,

Demonstrated so ably in the past. Give it priority.

When we land, as eventually is our plight,

You must, if I may quote a reputable authority,

'Be fruitful and multiply’ with all joy and delight,

You shall need to be conjunctive

That we might entertain the subjunctive

Of what might be, what could be, and what should be.

For example: You two in the Canis lupus familiaris subspecies,

The idea may seem to you to be a barrier,

But as yet we have no spaniel, no setter, no terrier—

No Scotch, Tibetan, Soft-coated, or Jack Russell terrier.

You see now the task you need to resolve

That the whole animal kingdom may evolve.”

In this way Noah challenged each species that survived the rain,

To entertain a new vision of a creative zoological domain.

At that, all creatures found a spot on the new-formed deck

Bathing in sunshine, dreaming of things whether sacred or profane.

All hands, paws, claws, talons and wings were indeed on deck.

Fritz Fritschel
March 2012

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