The Sewer Gas Ballad

So today I was supposed to write a ballad about my neighborhood.  I spent all day thinking and plotting and trying to rhyme before finally coming up with this gem:

The lunch bell rang, and 
So I departed,
And that was when
The smell got started.

I emerged from a
Wonderful lunch-time break
To find that the office
Smelled unbelievably rank.

Was the bathroom to blame?
It’s certainly gas,
The smelly old sewer kind
We thought we were past.

The sewer gas smelled
Like old rotten eggs,
A stench that could wither
The hair on your legs.

So out of the office
To the street we did go,
Where we stood in the sun
And watched the leaves blow.

The bright golden sun
Shone down from on high
While we chatted and laughed
As people passed by.

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At last a man from
Alliant showed up
To check it all out
And avoid a mix-up.

I basked in the breeze
And it’s chilly fall glory,
But that, my dear friends,
Is a whole other story.

The man from Alliant
Finally said
We could go back inside
Without ending up dead.

So back we all trudged
To our old daily grind,
But still the sun shines,
Ever-bright in my mind,

And still the wind blows
Leafy streams round my brain,
Swirling quickly, like
Toys round a drain.

It was nice to escape, I’ll
Have to admit, but not
Nearly as nice as not
Being blown into bits.

One of my favorite things about poetry is that it can make even the most ordinary event (like, say, ensuring that your sewer gas leak isn’t some other kind of gas that could seriously hurt you) into something extraordinary.  Poetry is all heightened language, heightened detail, heightened emotion.  I don’t think I want to know what a world without poetry would look like, but I’ll bet it would be bleak.

What’s your favorite thing about poetry?

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

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