P.O.E.T.S. Day! That One I Still Remember From Second Grade Or Whatever!

“One bright day in the middle of the night…”

A lot of you of a certain age and Catholic education will recognize that line from a poem. It was required curriculum, at least in my diocese growing up and I doubt there was much variation reaching outward.

It’s a stupid poem to anyone with an ounce of sense, but kids have nothing approaching such. I memorized this ditty almost forty years ago and still remember it. There wasn’t even an assignment to learn it. I just loved it. So did my friends and we’d race through it by rote, trying to see who couldn’t recite it quickly and then descend on that poor child like those bat eared things from Galaxy Quest that were out for Guy’s blood. But that was the early eighties: stupid funny poems, lawn darts, pit bulls, and Africanized honey bees. Kristy McNichols though… dude. There was an upside.

So it’s P.O.E.T.S. Day!

Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday! Get your ass out of work. Lie, cheat, steal, fake minor (don’t go overboard or there will be required explanations) injuries. I don’t think pit bulls or killer bees are going to work but a lawn dart injury to a near relative is pretty special and not outside the realm of possibilities. If there’s a temptation to lie to the higher ups by pretending you need to leave for a date with McNichols I’m in your corner and so would most people that remember Madonna’s debut album, but it’s been a long time since Little Darlings. Know your audience.

This week’s poem is of wrath and anger for those that like the nice and orderly. I can’t pin down an author. I can’t even pin down a title. It’s out there at various lengths with multiple unknown to me stanzas and truncated versions that cut out what I liked best.

It’s tempting to just claim authorship for myself, but I’ve done that so many times and lawyers – you have no idea how much they charge when you lose these days.

This is my remembered version. I call it “One Bright Day.” I’ve seen it called “Two Dead Men.” There are so many versions. I swear I’m doing this from memory so I could be wrong, but you’d have a hell of a time proving it:

One bright day in the middle of the night

Two dead boys got up to fight.

Back to back they faced each other,

Drew their swords and shot each other.

A deaf policeman heard the noise,

Came and shot the two dead boys.

If you don’t believe my lie is true,

Ask the Blind man.

He saw it too.

If you want to make fun of me for memorizing silly poetry you’d do well to save your powder until you hear me try Chaucer. That’s a half disaster. I can get to “hath in the ram,” and things get fuzzy.

So that’s it. Silly poem, get out of work and let the weekend take you at its convenience with a bright upheld finger to the needs of the world.

It’s Kristy McNichol time. Unless you’re a Tatum fan. That’s cool too. Matt Dillon if… I don’t welcome this discussion but the heart wants. Do as you will, but Kristy is the right answer.

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