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The Merman

 I

Who would be
A merman gay,
Singing alone,
Sitting alone,
With a mermaid's knee,
For instance--hey--
For a throne?

II

I would be a merman gay;
I would sit and sing the whole day long;
I would fill my lungs with the strongest brine,
And squirt it up in a spray of song,
And soak my head in my liquid voice;
I'd curl my tail in curves divine,
And let each curve in a kink rejoice.
I'd tackle the mermaids under the sea, And yank 'em around till they yanked me, Sportively, sportively; And then we would wiggle away, away, To the pea-green groves on the coast of day, Chasing each other sportively.
III There would be neither moon nor star; But the waves would twang like a wet guitar Low thunder and thrum in the darkness grum-- Neither moon nor star; We would shriek aloud in the dismal dales-- Shriek at each other and squawk and squeal, "All night!" rakishly, rakishly; They would pelt me with oysters and wiggletails, Laughing and clapping their hands at me, "All night!" prankishly, prankishly; But I would toss them back in mine, Lobsters and turtles of quaint design; Then leaping out in an abrupt way, I'd snatch them bald in my devilish glee, And skip away when they snatched at me, Fiendishly, fiendishly.
O, what a jolly life I'd lead, Ah, what a "bang-up" life indeed! Soft are the mermaids under the sea-- We would live merrily, merrily.

Poem by James Whitcomb Riley
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