Sweet Harriet was born with hair
That made the townsfolk stop and stare.
It looked like gold that had been spun
And waved with sparkles in the sun.
Her mother would spend hours and days
Washing, combing; primping with praise,
“Your marvelous hair, it’s magnificent!”
And worth the time that I have spent.”
This ritual went on for years.
She was the envy of her peers.
But when she turned the age of ten,
She announced, “No brushing again.”
Or for that matter, to cut or wash
And soon she didn’t look so posh.
The neat braids once wore on her head
Just ended up in knots instead.
The kids made fun of her at school
As she ate with drips and drool,
Which slipped right through her golden locks
And oozed on down to stain her socks.
The ends that fell into her dish
Were crusted dry and smelled like fish
And turned into a long hair storm.
There was no hope for her reform.
Then one morning Harriet cried,
Beneath her mop, crusted and dried,
“I’m done with school-ain’t goin’ no more.”
Went back to bed and slammed the door.
She stayed all day inside her room
Because she wouldn’t wash and groom.
And it was days before she’d move-
Pure stubbornness! What could she prove?
Her mother slid in plates of food.
She sat alone and stewed and chewed.
And soon poor Harriet was hid-
No one could tell she was a kid.
Her mother cried, “Oh, please come out!”
But Harriet would only shout,
“I won’t! I shan’t! You can’t make me!”
“I want my way! Why can’t you see?”
Those first days turned into a week.
Her hair became a ratty peak.
She wouldn’t budge, no, not at all,
When friends or Auntie’s came to call.
In this bedroom she would sup-
Next to her window opened up.
Still making messes all around
With gobbling grunts and slurping sounds.
A bluebird flew in with a twig.
It landed on her matted wig
Then built a new nest with its beak
And set its roost upon the peak.
And every day that her hair grew
Her room became more like a zoo
Squirrels and rabbits moved on in-
They built their dens and raised their kin.
Her mom threw food in every day
And so the critters came to stay.
She set up camp upon the floor-
Her sweet appearance was no more.
Her mom checked on her every day.
Now and then Harriet would say,
“I won’t. I shan’t. You can’t make me.”
“I want my way. Why can’t you see?”
The season brought a weather change.
Her hair became a messy mange.
Soon vines began to creep and crawl
Now that the season turned to fall.