The Donkey And The Elephant

The Donkey and the Elephant sailed on the Ship of State

They wanted more than anything to supervise its fate

The ship was sleek and fast and sure, the envy of the world

Its flag saluted with respect wherever ‘twas unfurled

The cargo bulged with luxury, with corn and plump soybean

With precious metals, pelts of fur, and Foreman’s Grill Machine

But Neptune leaves no vessel free of usage that is raw

He buffeted our Ship of State, in search of ev’ry flaw

The passengers, of many stripes, did not know what to do

Their cherished Ship was floundering upon the churning blue

The Captain and the crew spake bold, with many verbs and nouns

But to the passengers they seemed like bumbling circus clowns

Looming shoals and gaping rocks around the vessel spread

And filled the passengers with gloom and terrifying dread

They rushed about like baby chicks without a mother hen

Embracing everything from Christian Science to the Yen

The Donkey and the Elephant saw Opportunity

In the very danger that might drown them all at sea

“Brother” said the Elephant, “let’s put our pride away”

“and help the crew and captain to a safer, saner day.”

“I agree” the Donkey said, “our diff’rences aside,”

“let us lead the passengers and be their faithful guide!”

The Donkey and the Elephant announced to one and all

That from the Highest Power they’d received a sacred call

They’d take the Ship of State through any danger in a trice

Through the maelstrom wicked and the jagged arctic ice

The passengers were hesitant, the Captain blew a fuse

The pumps were failing rapidly; the crew got in the booze

The Donkey and the Elephant harangued the crowd at length

Promising administration full of truth and strength

The Donkey brayed: “My shipmates, we must overhaul the sails

“Pull the diesel motors out and substitute with snails”

The Elephant became enraged at what the Donkey preached

And offered his rebuttal that was sputtered, roared, and screeched:

“My friend is sorely misinformed, his program will not work”

“It favors only millionaires and those who go berserk!”

“I suggest we search the seas, both tropical and cold:”

“to look for pirate treasure, full of rubies, pearls and gold!”

“A pox on you!” the Donkey cried, “such fantasies inflame”

“The poor and homeless multitude, and make of life a game!”

“We need to put the anchor in the crow’s nest, for a start”

“We need to throw away the compass, sextant, and the chart!”

The passengers were fast asleep; the Captain tore his hair

The crew was certain that the ship was way beyond repair

The Donkey and the Elephant squared in combat grim

The time had come, so they announced, to either sink or swim!

The prow was crushed by mighty waves, the rudder had come loose

The lifeboats all had fallen off; the sea was running puce

“Your reckless views on marriage are a crime!” the Donkey cried

“You want to close the hospitals!” the Elephant replied.

And as they blamed each other for the ship’s oncoming wreck

The waters rose up to their waist, and then up to the neck

The passengers clutched life vests as they bobbed upon the waves

The Captain and his crew made paddles out of wooden staves

The Donkey and the Elephant continued to see red

Until the waves closed over each benighted, angry head

The Captain, crew and passengers soon gathered the debris

And made another ship to sail upon the fickle sea

The Donkey and the Elephant kept up their verbal soccer

Down below where Davey Jones maintains his soggy Locker.

Tim Torkildson writes verse for the Bulletin Board section of the Saint Paul Pioneer Press newspaper.  He is also a free-lance blogger for agricultural heartland companies such as