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Unpublished Works

Well, after an inordinately long time, I am finally getting around to putting something on this page. The first selection will be a collection of verse that never quite found its way into published form -- at least not as a book, although a few of the selections were published in various periodicals. Perhaps the reason the little book was never published will quickly become self-evident. But, if you don't like one particular verse, at least it won't take very long to get to the next one.

 

In time to come -- I trust before too long -- I will be adding other items to this section, perhaps some short stories and essays and maybe even some works of greater length. For now, I hope you will enjoy this first offering.

 

 

 

ANIMAL - VEGETABLE - MINERAL
A Collection of Mainly Light Verse
by
Allan W. Eckert


* * *

Herald

One crystal star of snow shook free
Fell to earth beside the sea;
Found us standing … silent … still …
The pine and me, upon a hill.
Touched my eye with winter's wine;
Caused a tear… half hers, half mine.

* * *


Skepticism

I once knew a braggin' guy
Who claimed he ate a dragonfly.
He said it made him turn quite blue.
I hardly think that this is true;
You see, a dragonfly I ate
(And, though to doubt his word I hate)
My eating it caused quite a scene
And turned my whole complexion green!

* * *


The Hundred-Legger

There once was a gentleman centipede
(I guess you could call him a gentipede)
Who entered a maze
And wandered for days
And emerged a considerably bentipede!

* * *

A word of introduction is appropriate for the following verse, which I designate as an epic limerick. From 1970 to 1972, my old high school friend, wildlife artist Karl E. Karalus and I embarked on a project to produce a comprehensive book on all the species and subspecies of owls throughout North America north of Mexico. In the process, while I did the research and writing, Karalus made hundreds of owl sketches, not only on field trips but through the use of preserved scientific specimens, plus the 59 beautiful, accurate full color paintings - one for each species --that graced the book, which was entitled The Owls of North America and subsequently published in a very successful coffee-table size format by Doubleday & Co. of New York City in 1973. Karalus had never before undertaken so massive a project and when we were both finally finished and the book was in production, I wrote the following in commemoration of Karl's huge effort:


The Owl Artist
… or …
Whatever Happened to Karl?

An artist named Karl drew owls
On the bedsheets and napkins and towels;
He sketched on the doors,
On the walls and the floors.
And ignored all his wife's warning growls.

There were owls in the kitchen and hall,
There were short owls and fat owls and tall;
There were skinny owl creatures
With ludicrous features;
There were big owls and owls that were small.

There were owls on the sugar container;
There were three on an old battered strainer;
He sketched owls in lots
On his wife's pans and pots.
(Her objections could not have been plainer.)

There was one owl with ears like a goat
That he sketched on his wife's brand new coat;
He drew five in a row
On his daughter's big toe,
And four on the toilet bowl float.

There were owls that had talons immense
That he sketched on their white garden fence;
He drew owls everywhere
And he didn't much care
That his home life was growing quite tense.

Came the day his poor wife had enough,
And she shouted, "Get rid of this stuff!
I am sick of these birds!"
(And other such words)
And she stormed through the house in a huff.

But the artist had no time to dicker
(Though he paused for a moment to kick her).
His fame spread so wide
That he darned nearly died
As he tried to paint quicker and quicker.

There's a very sad end to this tale
That may cause you to weep, sob and wail:
A tremendous old owl
Snatched him up with a howl
And devoured him just like a quail.

In the woods during full moon, it's told,
Comes a song oft-repeated and bold;
It's a long, mournful cry,
Half a moan, half a sigh.
And it tends to cause blood to run cold.

When they say, "It scares me … does it you?"
I reply, "No, it just makes me blue."
For I know that the call
Is just Karl, that's all,
Perched up there, saying "Whoooo, dammit…..Whoooo!"

* * *


Obvious Reasoning

With looks so queer
It's very clear
Why there's no vanity
In the manatee.

* * *

Neither Wind Nor Rain…

Hey, looky there! A horney toad
Jus' clum up from his dim abode
An' crawled acrost a field unsowed
Whar only prickly cactus growed.
He come a-waddlin' down th' road
An' tho' the wind done howled an' blowed,
It shore din't stop that horney toad.
The sun was hot, it shined an' glowed,
But heat don't slow no horney toad!
An' purty soon a dark cloud showed
An hid the sun from on the road;
Unfazed, that little critter strode
Along the wind-blown dusty road.
Then rain come hard an' washed the load
Of grit an' grime clear off the road,
An' tho' that water splushed an' flowed,
It couldn't stop ol' horney toad.
Th' air turned cold an' then it snowed,
An' tho' his pace was slightly slowed,
Still on he trudged with head unbowed.
The thought within me bloomed an' growed,
Warn't nuthin' now could change his mode.
By jinks, Ah'm wrong! Wal Ah'll be throwed!
He's stopped hisself along the road.
Ah see it now - shucks, should'a knowed!
He's found hisself a lady toad!

* * *

Aria

How monotonous the song of the cricket,
As he chirps in the midst of a thicket.
He doesn't change key,
Just chirps constantly,
"Click-clicket, click-clicket, click-clicket."

* * *

Substitute

There was an unfortunate beaver
Who lost all his teeth due to fever,
But he still cut down trees
With the greatest of ease
By wielding a double-edged cleaver.

* * *


Marriage Formula

There was a most beautiful virgin
Who swallowed a sixteen-inch sturgeon.
They opened this dish
And took out the fish
And she wound up the wife of the surgeon.

* * *


"Dear Senator…"

Orations, I fear, are like horns on a steer,
I'm sure you know just what I mean:
You'll find a point here and you'll find a point there…
And a great deal of bull in between!

* * *


Allure vs. a Lure

A middle-aged angler named Harlan,
Went far out to sea with his darlin'.
When he ran out of bait
He just trolled out his mate…
And came home with a world-record marlin!


* * *

Army Ant

I do not like you, army ant,
Crawling up my tropic plant --
All innocence in insect guise,
You scan my crops with compound eyes,
And if you had a tongue, I'm sure
You'd lick your chops. And if you were
Alone I'd say, "Why, eat your fill --
Just gnaw along on what you will."
You see, I wouldn't mind you badly,
Nor would my thoughts of you come sadly
If only you'd remain aloof.
But, no, you've got to be uncouth
And send a message to your kin.
The end result is I can't win:
Here come your brothers, uncles, aunts,
And all your offspring to my plants
And when they're here in one mass meeting,
They'll dig right in and start their eating.
No stalk, no blade, no leaf is spared;
Of foliage my place is bared.
I should have mashed you on that plant!
One cannot reason with an ant.

* * *


Aftermath

There was a young woman named Perkins,
Who loved eating pickles and gherkins.
She ate one full quart
(Which was more than she ort)
And it pickled her internal workin's.

* * *


Advice on Foot-racing

Never try to beat a
Cheetah


* * *

The Puzzling Platypus

For crazy, mixed-up critters,
The duckbill has no peer,
No matter where you search,
The time, the place or year.
She has a bill just like a duck,
She has a beaver's tail,
She sports a pouched abdomen
(Just her - not on the male!)
She doesn't give live birth to young;
She lays an egg instead.
She has webbed feet and swims quite well,
She's furred on back and head.
The only thing she hasn't got
Amongst these other things,
Is wings!

* * *


Enticement

Many gals willa
For Chinchilla!

* * *


Transplanted Floridian

When kids have to stretch their arms up high
To snap from the eaves those slivers of ice,
Their hands so cold they could almost cry,
Yet the icicles taste so nice;
When the winter wind crackles in your nose,
And vaporous clouds leave your mouth,
And the fireplace glows like a lovely rose
… don't you wish you were back in the South?

* * *


Revelation

A frail, frantic moment
Came to me that night as I,
Wearied of fruitless yesterdays
And crushed by a regiment
Of barren tomorrows,
Grasped suddenly that instant
Of uncontaminated knowledge and discovery.

The darkness blanketing my thoughts
Split with silent roar
And shattering impact,
When this eager mind,
Agrog with sleep, beheld
So great a truth -- revealed
For but one frail and frantic moment,
And then…withdrawn.

With stumbling pen
I sought to save that truth
'Til 'morrow's dawn shook free.
Alas! With pace despairing,
The moment fled
Between the flick of switch
And painful light.
And, with that moment,
Inspiration!


* * *

Description of an Entomological Organism
in a Dormant or Lethargic State
Between the Larval and Adult Stages
of its Metamorphosis

A pupa
In a stupa

 

 

* * *

Quick!

There goes a hare!
Where?
: : : : : : there!


Depression

Depression is a germ;
An amoeba,
Drawn to brightness and joy
For sustenance.
Pseudopod arms flow densely;
Engulf happiness…
Smothering…
Withering…
Destroying all light.
Swiftly grows within itself:
doubledoubledouble
Sucks
you
down to
Despair and hopelessness.
You are
………alone!


* * *

Gist of an Overheard Conversation
in Which a Woman
Reflects on Her Distaste
Concerning a Particular Mammal
of the New World Order Edentata,
Whose Natural Habit
Encompasses a Large Portion
of the Southwestern United States

The armadillo
Makes me illo!


* * *


We Have a Dream…

How should we feel when we see their eyes
Cast us down with loathing in thin disguise?
What can we say that could take away
This prejudice bred in them day after day?
What should we think when they stand and grin,
Judging not our worth, but our color of skin?
What can we do when they tell their lies,
When they say we're fools, but they're very wise?
How can we show them we just want to live
With a chance to exhibit what we have to give?
We still have that dream - as yet unfulfilled -
That clarion call that can never be stilled.
Despite our travail we will increase our pace
And at last be embraced by the whole human race!


* * *

Now See Hare!

There was a belligerent rabbit
Who had an unfortunate habit;
He'd chase kids and git 'em.
He held 'em an bit 'em,
And they never did catch 'im, dagnabbit!


* * *

Sound Off!

What kind of voice has the guinea pig?
Does he whinny big?
Does he softly croon?
Or sing a tune?
Does he whine or cry?
Or hoarsely sigh?
Does he scream or bellow
Like a noisy fellow?
Does he hoot…or toot?
Or is he mute?

 

* * *


The following piece was written with the idea of making it into a profusely illustrated read-aloud book for young children, but no publisher ever showed any interest.

Animal Boat

Within the Ark there was a lark,
A blackbird, fox and bat,
A little mouse, a fine ruffed grouse,
A chipmunk, wolf and cat;
A pelican. a little wren,
A sparrow and a quail,
A sad baboon, a glad raccoon,
A cheetah and a rail.
There was a crow, a buffalo,
A woodchuck and a seal,
A big bull moose, a fine fat goose,
A mallard and a teal.
A golden eagle stood as regal
Lookout on a log;
While near the hull there perched a gull
Upon a dark red hog.
The whip-poor-will and queer duckbill
Were stationed near the drain
Where on a steer there stood a deer
And on his back a crane.
Along the walk there paced a hawk
And with him squirmed a boa.
A huge brown rat in silk top hat
Read stories to a moa.
An antelope ate cantaloupe,
While in the hold a pheasant
Regaled an ape in scarlet cape
About his past and present.
An old gray gnu (part of the crew)
With pelting rain was peppered,
A sea-sick beaver had his fever
Doctored by a leopard.
The biggest loafer was a gopher,
Others worked much quicker;
A spry sandpiper and a viper
Cooked beetles for a flicker.
Beside old dobbin worked a robin,
Scrubbing with a towel;
A coal-black raven talked of haven
To his friend, the owl.
The tiny snipe just smoked his pipe
Above the water murky,
While on the bridge a gaunt partridge
Called orders to a turkey.
A dainty tern (so quick to learn!)
Bailed swiftly with a blotter;
The noble heron, like a baron,
Went fishing with the otter.
A fine fat penguin (with his hen-quin)
Dressed in formal wear;
And near a zebra (with his she-bra)
Hopped a snow white hare.
An ailing mole kept his porthole
Ajar to get some air;
Two vireos played dominoes
Upon an old black bear.
A chimpanzee, his chimpan-she,
An egret and a cow,
A jaguar yellow (handsome fellow!)
Sang folk songs in the prow.
A black-tailed deer then cocked his ear
To hear the lovebird croon.
A kangaroo and ostrich, too,
Played poker with a loon.
A big fat lion kept on tryin'
To catch a poor canary,
While Mr. Dovekie and his lovekie
Set a date to marry.
Beneath the Ark there swam a shark
And close to him a whale,
While up above a faithful dove
Flew bravely in the gale.
All these and more sought distant shore;
By George…they found it, too!
Each separate kind you're sure to find
In books, the farm or zoo.
Some were quite small and some were tall -
The shrew, giraffe and goa -
But at the call came one and all,
With thanks to good ol' Noah.


* * *

Demise

I had a friend who ate a cattail…
…and that's the sad, sad end of that tale!


* * *

Meaning

It usually means the tiger's sore
When he emits that frightening roar;
But should you hear him mutter, "Yummy!"
It usually means you're in his tummy!


* * *

Observation on Some Ocean Denizens
Who Are Masters of Camouflage

The cuttlefish
Are subtle fish.


* * *

Dimensions

From the plaque on the scale
At the end of the hall,
I'm informed that my weight
Makes me eight feet tall.


* * *

Poet

Who's the one who cannot rhyme,
Or ever write a poem sublime,
At any time?
I'm.


* * *

Tribute

"Nature of Taxpayer" reads the blank
On the Income Tax form just received.
With malice aforethought I pen my reply,
"Extremely reluctant and grieved!"


* * *

Vacation Obsession

I can't resist, on summer trips,
Amid the crowds and cheers,
To load my arms and car and grips
With useless souvenirs.


* * *

Advice

If you should chance to meet a cobra,
I hope, my friend, you're very sobra!


* * *

Cosmetic Offering

Sign at a church
For those who have drifted:
"Enter, dear friends,
And have your Faith lifted."


* * *

Resemblance

The ant-bear is a funny creature.
Reminds me of my fifth-grade teacher.
They look alike, except one feature:
There was no hair upon my teacher.


The Hognosed Snake

To a world of lesser skillful,
With your nose upturned thus willful,
You perform with wondrous talent which none other can display.
All these human fools are foils
For your squat reptilian coils
As you raise and hiss and flatten causing fear and great dismay.
While you hold the world at bay,
While you lift your head and sway,
Does your flicking tongue hide laughter,
Does your trembling tail show play?

Thirty-six full inches villain
And perpetually willin'
To create a frightful moment with your penetrating eye;
With your cobra's hood uplifted
And the looks with which your gifted,
Master Actor, shall I tell them that you're really very shy?
Shall I show them that you lie?
Shall I demonstrate just why
You're a bluffer, puffer adder?
Just my touch can make you die.

There! I've tapped you very lightly
And with agony unsightly
You perform as I predicted and you prove it's all a guise.
You so bunch in painful coilings
We must compliment your toilings,
For the act is so convincing that we scarce believe our eyes!
See how frightfully he writhes
As his hissing chokes and sighs,
With his stomach toward the skies,
As his tongue lolls out - he dies!

Back away now; peek from hiding.
Watch the head. There! See it sliding,
Scanning swiftly all about him with a perspicacious eye.
He's not dead, nor was he ever!
Is there other snake so clever
Who can terrify so badly or as competently "die"?
Not in regions low or high,
Neither swamp nor desert dry.
There's none other so convincing,
So adept at being sly!


* * *

Gurry!

Here comes a Gila Monster!
Gelp! Gelp! Gelp!


* * *


Poor Marty

I had an uncle once, named Marty,
Who was the life of every party.
Alas! He ate an artichoke,
Which made poor Uncle Marty choke.


* * *

Loss

I've lost my hip-line, lost my trim,
My waistline is a sight.
I'd give a million just to lose
My awful appetite!


* * *

Manners

The badger digs to get his food,
Which makes his eating habits rude.
I won't say what the badger ate.
You'd say that I exaggerate.


* * *


Leaves of Autumn

I saw them in their lovely hues,
The reds, the golds, the green and tan.
I heard the wind that brought the news
And chuckled softly with its plan.
(Listen! Here the wind as it calls…and calls.)

They whispered softly, sadly too.
I almost heard them say,
"It's come! The time has come again
When we must drift away."
(Look! Watch it swirl as it falls…and falls.)

And then a red leaf broke the spell.
I heard him laugh and boldly say,
As other leaves about him fell,
"No wind will make me drop today!"
("Come!" moaned the wind with sighs…and sighs.)

The red leaf shuddered, shook, then fell
In spirals to the ground.
It rustled once -- a tinkling bell -
Then made no other sound.
(Gone! With rustle dry…it cries…and dies.)


* * *

Safe Bet

When a woman in anger
Suffers in languor
And says not a word to her spouse,
It's a pretty safe bet
She has said nothing yet
'Cause she's all by herself in the house.


* * *


Treasure Trove

Our attic hides a treasure old
Of books and clothes and shoes;
Enormous stores of antique "gold"
We'll surely never use.


* * *

Druthers

The yak is brown, he isn't black.
The yak says "Moo," but never "Quack!"
With yucky hair on flanks and back,
Much dignity he's sure to lack.
I'm awfully glad I'm not a yak.


* * *

Terminology

Were these here critters
Named for Noah…
The boa?
The goa?
The moa?
…Shoah!


* * *

The Sole Remark of a Gentleman Hunter
Who, for Twenty Minutes,
Has Patiently Listened to a
Heated Argument from a Fellow Hunter
to the Effect that there is
No Finer Upland Game Bird-Dog
in the World that the American Pointer

"A," said he, "setter
is," he smiled, "better."


* * *

Encounter

A young man who left the big city
Encountered a black-and-white kitty.
But when he got back
He was dressed in a sack
And they buried his clothes out of pity.


* * *

Unforgettable Lesson

I've just now learned that porcupines,
With all their many, bristling spines,
Have tails that are quite double-jointed,
And tempers very very pointed!


* * *

Tip for the Person Learning
to Ride Horseback

Don't practus
Near cactus.


* * *

Jilted

To an impartial viewer
It's patently truer
I'm quite a bit bluer
Than you're.


* * *

Nature Lesson

Consider, my friend, the notorious adder,
A meeting with one makes you wiser…and sadder!


* * *

Extinction

Pity the dodo -
How fast he did go-go!


* * *

Sports at Marineland

See! Basketball they've taught the dolphin.
Next, by god, they'll have 'im golfin'!


* * *

Weighty Problem

A man who ate éclairs for dinner
Sighed, "Alas! I am never a winner.
Though four dozen I ate,
I just cannot gain weight
And instead grow progressively thinner!"


* * *

Vanishing American

Ferrets once were everywhere,
But ferrets now are very rare.
So should you chance to find a ferret,
Pair it!


* * *

Blessing

I'm glad the chigger
Ain't no bigger!


* * *

Well?

Is the cassowary wary?
Does the caracara care?
Is the ani very canny?
Is the dik-dik one or pair?
Is the weevil really evil?
Will a swine get drunk on wine?
Does a jackal howl and cackle?
Gosh…your guess is good as mine!


* * *

Final Hunt

A hunter who wounded a ptarmigan,
Could not stand to bring these poor birds harmigan;
So he gave up his gun,
Said "With hunting I'm done!"
And nevermore left his old farmigan.


* * *

Query

Please do not think me too absurd,
But since he's next of kin to bird,
Does the lizard
Have a gizzard?


* * *

Classification

The panther is a jet black beast
That springs when you expect him least.
However, if with spots he's peppered,
He's more familiar as the leopard.


* * *

Bzzzzz

There once was an overgrown gnat
Who grew most intolerably gfat.
That was truly unwise,
For he flew past my eyes
And succumbed with an audible gsplat!


* * *

Consolation

My hair has gone and left a pate
As smooth as glass, with shimmer great.
One consolation, still, I harbor --
I need no longer pay the barber.


* * *

Tenacity

Ain't nothin' k'n stick
…….like a tick!


* * *

Revvin' Up the Romance

Moeder was a little termite,
Always chewing on the walls,
In the daytime and the night,

Eating stairs, the floors and halls.
Then one day he turned up missing,
But his sweetheary was a doter -
She called his name and promised kissing…
And sure enough, out bored Moeder.


* * *


Relinquishment

If this be death, then surely
Have I feared in vain
What follows now; for though
Mine eyes upon the wane
Have been, a prospect new
They've brightly seen ahead
And I rejoice to walk
That path so many fear to tread.

If this be death, then life
Was only testing me
And, having found no lack,
Lets go reluctantly;
That I may leave this husk
Reclined beneath closed eyes,
Foregoing now those years
I walked in mortal guise.

If this be death, then
Let me haste departure take!
These painful ties which bound me
Strongly, thus, I break
With ease and, casting fear
And pain and dearth behind,
I face ahead and start to walk.
Nor do I fear. Nor am I blind.


* * *

Triangle

A silly young squirrel named Cyril
Loved a cute girl squirrel named Pearl.
"You're a dear little nut,"
she smiled at him, "but
I'm in love with a squirrel named Earl."


* * *

With Fond Memories

My loving wife has taken up
A pastime hardly funny.
She saves antiques, which forces me
To give up saving money!


* * *

Bare Facts

While diving in the briny deep
I'd hate to meet a barracuda.
But even less I'd want to meet
A great big pair o' 'cuda.


* * *

Revelation

A turr'ble sight Ah seen one day -
A b'ar clum up a tree.
Ah hate like hell t'tell you this,
That b'ar was after me!


* * *

Epitaph

Pity, if you will, my ol' Aunt Hetter…
…an anteater etter.


* * *

Pest

The cockroach is so damned despicable,
He always makes me downright sickable.


* * *

Unfaithful

In the Andes there lived an alpaca
Who was thrilled by his lovely gal 'paca.
She pretended affection,
But was planning defection
All the time with the alpaca's pal 'paca.


* * *

It's So Peaceful in the Country
(or: Reflections of an Urbanite After Spending
His First Few Nights on a Lakeside Farm)

Warm night, cars stop,
Moon bright, toads hop,
Owls hoot, bugs crawl,
Frogs toot, cows call,
Bats fly, mules bray,
Loons cry, rabbits play,
Nightbirds sob, pike splash,
Crickets throb, gars thrash,
Dogs howl, worms slide,
'Coons growl, swans glide,
Deer jump, trees fall,
Rats thump, mice brawl,
'Skeeters bite, carp spawn,
Cats fight till dawn,
Cocks crow, hogs squeal,
Snakes hiss, bells peal,
Farmer wakes, tumbles cans,
House shakes, rattling pans,
Livestock sings offkey ditty.
This is peace? Give me city!


* * *

Chamois

There once was a high-jumping chamois
Who lived in the Alps with his mamois,
But the weather was clamois,
So this chamois, named Samois,
Moved to sunny, warm old Alabamois.


* * *

 

More to come...in time...