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Alan Cook

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  Saga of Bill the Hermit, The
by Alan Cook
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent poems by Alan Cook
•  Berlin Wall (1961-1989)
•  Librarian
•  Limericks--Lady from France
•  Minotaur, The
•  Bull Leaper
           >> View all 46




Bill is tired of the single life, but his quest for a bride is fraught with peril.


 

In a mythical land
On a mythical hill,
In a cabin of logs
Lived a hermit named Bill.
 
Now Bill was as strong
As the wind in the trees,
But a woman could bring
Old Bill to his knees.
 
And Bill was as brave
As a moose on the make,
But a pretty wee lass
Made him quiver and quake.
 
Our Billy was tired
Of living alone;
He yearned and he longed
For a wife of his own.
 
But how could he ask
Any maid in the land?
When he spoke to a girl
His tongue turned to sand.
 
He stammered and stuttered
And spluttered and blushed;
And you can't win a gal
When you're tongue-tied and flushed.
 
He needed a girl
Sympathetic and kind;
Both patient and pure,
And he had one in mind.
 
She'd eyes of lime sherbet
And hair red as flame;
She was dimpled and freckled,
And Bliss was her name.
 
Now well you may ask
What a hermit like Bill
Could offer sweet Bliss,
On his mythical hill.
 
Well, Bill, I must tell you,
Had been learning by mail,
At a mythical version
Of Harvard or Yale;
 
And he learned with such zest,
And he learned with such glee,
That they granted old Bill
A computing degree.
 
Then Bill took his cabin
Which had been a wreck,
And with his new learning
He made it high-tech.
 
He computerized cleaning
And cooking and such;
And gardening so that
He now had so much
 
Food that he stored it
In a cave by the stream.
The whole operation
Was a housewifely dream.
 
He was sure if he only
Could show her all this,
He could win the fair hand
Of the beautiful Bliss.
 
But Bliss lived in Treetown,
By a mythical rill,
On the opposite side
Of the mountain from Bill.
 
And her father was fierce,
And her mother was mean,
And she'd lots of big brothers,
Either twelve or thirteen.
 
Her family had plans
For the beautiful Bliss;
They were marrying her off
To a milksop named Chris.
 
Now hold on a sec,
Before you get critical,
You should know this marriage
Was purely political.
 
But back to poor Bill
Who looked peaked and spent;
He lost 23 pounds,
Give or take 10 percent.
 
He sat by his cabin
And he worked on his tan;
And he thought and he thought,
Till he thought up a plan.
 
"Eureka!" he shouted,
"This plan hits the spot.
It's a good thing because
It's all that I've got."
 
I should mention right now
That although there were bars
And briquettes in this land,
There weren't any cars.
 
Nor bicycles, buses,
Nor trolleys, nor trains,
Nor horses, nor camels,
Nor wagons, nor planes,
 
Nor subways, nor pumpkins,
Nor donkeys that balked;
When these people traveled
They ran or they walked.
 
So Billy set out
One bright summer day,
When the rest of the world
Was at work or at play.
 
Up the high mountain
He started to climb;
It was rocky and steep,
So he took his sweet time.
 
But finally, panting,
He came to the top,
And sat on a boulder,
A good place to stop
 
And rest, and look down on
The valley below,
Where lived many folks,
Some friend and some foe.
 
But of course, most important
For Bill and this story,
Was that Bliss lived here
In all of her glory.
 
Our Bill had a pair
Of powerful glasses,
Good for looking at trees
Or mountains or lasses.
 
And they were the best
That money could buy;
At a distance of miles
He could pick out a fly.
 
He now pulled them out
From the depths of his pack,
And scanned the horizon
From the front to the back.
 
Then he suddenly stopped
And started to curse,
Using words like, "Gee whiz,"
And, "Gosh darn," and worse;
 
For there in the valley
He had spotted young Bliss,
Walking hand in hand
With the milksop named Chris.
 
Now William got mad
As an old grizzly bear,
And his face turned as red
As the fair Bliss's hair.
 
He ran down the mountain,
He practically flew,
Over logs, streams and rocks,
And a boulder or two.
 
He crashed and he floundered,
He tripped and he fell,
Which is often what happens
When we do things pell mell.
 
He was battered and bruised,
As you can probably guess;
His clothes were all dirty
And his hair was a mess.
 
He lay there and wondered
Just what he was doing;
He'd be better off home
If this was what wooing
 
Did to a fella,
His body and mind;
He felt like a monster,
Not gentle and kind,
 
As he pictured himself,
So he picked up his pack,
And he stiffly arose--
And he almost turned back.
 
But his ache was inside,
The ache and the yearning,
He couldn't resist it--
Our Bill was still learning.
 
So he turned once again,
And he headed on down
To the valley below,
To the place, to the town,
 
Where lived his true love,
The beautiful Bliss,
Even though she was wedding
That milksop named Chris.
 
Bill didn't arrive
At the town until dark,
So he found a small inn,
A place he could park
 
His bones for the night.
He drew looks that were quizzical,
But he just nursed his wounds,
Both mental and physical.
 
In the morning Bill felt
Much improved, if not great;
He was ready to find
His fortune and fate.
 
Now Bliss didn't live
In the town, but outside;
When I told you she lived
In Treetown, I lied.
 
She lived by a rill
On a mythical farm,
Near a single-room school
Where she was the marm.
 
So Bill went and hid
By a tree near the school;
And he peeked out from there,
And he felt like a fool.
 
When he saw Bliss coming
Poor Bill held his breath;
His heart beat a tattoo,
For she scared him to death.
 
She wore a green blouse
And a long skirt that swirled;
She was the prettiest
In all of the world.
 
Bill's plan was to hail her
And casually talk;
But his lips wouldn't move,
And his feet wouldn't walk.
 
So he remained frozen,
And she didn't see
His petrified body
Behind the oak tree.
 
Kids came, girls in dresses,
And boys in short pants,
Creating confusion;
He'd blown his first chance.
 
Now Bliss rang the bell
To call them to class;
And they entered the school,
Each laddie and lass.
 
Bill peered at the building,
And he hummed a jump tune
To give himself courage,
As he waited for noon.
 
He climbed up the tree
To a branch within reach;
Through his glasses he watched
Bliss talk and Bliss teach.
 
She smiled and she laughed
With each Polly and Tim;
Bill knew she was the
Right woman for him.
 
'Twas the last day of school;
They were planning a spree;
A picnic to happen
Underneath our Bill's tree.
 
At noon when they headed
Toward Bill, he took fright,
And clambered on up
The tree out of sight.
 
The branches grew weak,
One broke, and, alas!
Bill crashed through the tree
And he fell on the grass.
 
Girls screamed, boys gasped,
And Bill lay in the dirt;
He grimaced, but only
His pride had been hurt.
 
He managed to look up,
And to his surprise,
He found himself gazing
Into Bliss's green eyes.
 
Her eyes, though, were dark,
Her face was dark, too,
And ice framed her words,
As she asked, "Who are you?"
 
Bill reclosed his eyes,
The future looked bleak;
And once more he was
Unable to speak.
 
"He's a hermit," a boy said,
"And he lives on a hill.
And his name...." "I know!"
Said a girl, "It is Bill."
 
"Well, Bill, Dick or Harry,
Now hear this, you creep;
I won't allow Toms
To come here and peep.
 
"So you'd better move out
And put miles in between,
Or my brothers will come,
All twelve or thirteen."
 
Bill gazed up at Bliss,
His heart filled with love;
She was sparklingly mad
As she stood there above.
 
But what could he do?
He knew he was beat;
He slowly got up
And made his retreat.
 
Bill took himself sadly
Back to the inn.
He had just two more days
To lose, draw or win.
 
Day after tomorrow
The beautiful Bliss
Would be saying, "I do,"
To that milksop named Chris.
 
The thought made Bill seethe,
He could not give up;
He still might drink from
His own bridal cup.
 
Next morning, quite early,
Bill walked to the farm,
Although he knew he
Would come to great harm
 
If seen by her father,
Or even her mother,
Let alone by a large
And ferocious Bliss brother.
 
From hiding Bill watched
The coming and going;
The wedding prep caused
Much to-ing and fro-ing.
 
All morning he saw folks
Scurry that way and this;
But he never once saw
The beautiful Bliss.
 
Bill got discouraged,
But still on he stayed,
Wanting just one more glimpse
Of this exquisite maid.
 
The vision would last him
A lifetime or more,
As Billy walked on
Through life's next open door.
 
For William now knew,
Now knew in his heart,
He and Bliss would not wed,
Would be always apart.
 
These the thoughts of our Bill;
But they ran like a mouse
As the beautiful Bliss
Now stepped out of the house.
 
She scuffed down the path,
She kicked at a stone;
She walked toward the woods,
And she walked all alone.
 
Bill followed, not thinking,
For all semblance of will
To resist had deserted
Our love-smitten Bill.
 
He was numb, he felt nothing,
No pleasure or pain,
As he scooped up some flowers
That grew in the lane.
 
Bliss entered the woods
And was soon out of sight.
Bill crept close and listened
With all of his might.
 
Was that just the wind
In the trees softly sighing?
Or was it the sound
Of somebody crying?
 
Well, you know old Bill,
What was he to do?
As always, with women,
He hadn't a clue.
 
Some thing in the air,
Or the grass, or the trees,
Caused Bill to emit
A thunderous sneeze.
 
"Who is that? Who dares
To sneak up on me?"
Cried Bliss. "Show yourself,
You cad! Let me see."
 
Our Bill couldn't move
For what seemed like hours,
And then he timidly
Thrust out the flowers.
 
Bill followed, and Bliss
Took one look and said,
"Oh, it's you! Do your worst,
'Cause I wish I were dead."
 
"I mean you no harm!"
Cried Bill; then he smiled.
For the very first time
Since he'd been a child
 
He'd talked to a girl
Without stammering, stuttering,
Flushing or blushing,
Blustering or spluttering.
 
He gave her the flowers.
"They match your red hair."
Our Bliss looked surprised,
But she held them with care.
 
"People said you were rough,"
Said Bliss, "but I find
That under your edges
You're gentle and kind."
 
"Your grief makes me sad,
And I know it sounds silly,
But I wish I could help
With your plight." Thus spoke Billy.
 
"Alas, no one can help,
I am lost." Thus spoke Bliss.
"I'm fated to marry
A milksop named Chris.
 
"I never can love him,"
She said, with a groan.
"But I will suffer
My fate all alone."
 
"Marry me!" cried our Bill,
"Marry me, instead.
I've a high-tech cabin
And a great big brass bed."
 
"You are sweet," said Bliss,
"But I can't wed another,
Even if I loved you,
For my father and mother
 
"Have promised to Chris
My hand, legs and arms,
In exchange for merging
Our two family farms."
 
"But, but...," spluttered Bill,
"They can't—that is slavery!
I vow to stop them...."
"Don't show too much bravery,"
 
Said Bliss, "or they'll kill you
And me--they are mean;
And remember my brothers,
All twelve or thirteen."
 
Just then in the woods
They both heard a noise.
Could it be Ma or Pa
Or some of the boys?
 
"They're coming to get me,"
Said Bliss, "they are near;
If you value your life
You will just disappear."
 
Now Billy was brave,
But he was no fool;
To not fight great odds
Was ever his rule.
 
So he got up and git
Through thick bushes and thin,
And he didn't slow down
Till he came to the inn.
 
And there o'er a mug
Of the inn's best light ale,
He pondered the problems
Of female and male.
 
And that night as he slept
He tossed and he turned,
And he ached and he dreamed,
And he burned and he yearned.
 
Next morning our hero
Returned to the farm,
Ignoring the threat
Of bodily harm.
 
He circled the house
Till he spotted the room
Where Bliss was preparing
To meet with her doom.
 
At least that's how Billy
Regarded her fate;
For her he saw only
One possible mate.
 
He climbed up a tree,
(You've heard this before),
He dove through her window
And crashed on her floor.
 
His eyes looked wild,
As of someone possessed;
He failed to notice
That Bliss was half-dressed.
 
This barely shook up
The unflappable Bliss.
She said, "We've got to
Stop meeting like this."
 
Her bridesmaids were frightened;
They started to scream.
Bliss said, "Belay that;
It's only a dream."
 
They shut up, but stared
At Billy, aghast.
Then he said, "Listen!
I've got to talk fast.
 
"When you walk down the path
To the church at high noon,
You'll hear the whistle
Of a jump tune.
 
"Then run into the wood
By the side of the road.
I'll be there to whisk you
To my humble abode."
 
"No way," countered Bliss,
"It won't work; I just can't."
But Bill didn't hear;
He started to rant:
 
"We will leave that milksop
Chris in the lurch,
Standing and waiting
In front of the church."
 
Now back through the window
Bill dove and was gone,
Down the trunk of the tree
And over the lawn.
 
He saw a Bliss brother,
And was suddenly scared;
But that man was caught
By surprise and just stared.
 
Bliss watched from her window,
Forgetting her grief;
And when Bill got away,
Breathed a sigh of relief.
 
The brother, however,
Then spread the alarm,
And soon everyone
At the family farm
 
Knew that Bill was about,
And up to no good,
So a guard was set up
On the road by the wood.
 
For this sort of thing
Bliss's pa had been dreading.
He said, "Nothing and no one
Will stop this here wedding."
 
Soon the party set out
Across carpets of green,
With Bliss and her brothers,
All twelve or thirteen,
 
Her mother and father,
The bridesmaids and more;
Relatives, neighbors,
They came by the score.
 
They passed cattle and sheep,
And pheasants and peacocks,
And all of the walkers
Were wearing their Reeboks.
 
As the group neared the church
The time neared high noon;
And Bliss wished that she
Were up on the moon.
 
Just then from the wood
There came a clear whistle,
And the sound went through her
Heart like a missile.
 
Should she run for the wood?
It just wouldn't work.
As she pondered, the
Whole darn world went berserk.
 
It was just like a war;
There were blinding flashes,
Squawking and sirens
And deafening crashes.
 
Everyone hit the dirt
And covered their heads,
Ignoring the damage
To shiny new threads.
 
You're aware of the cause;
It was Bliss's suitor.
Bill had done it all with
A laptop computer.
 
Among all these brave men
Only Bliss still stood,
When Billy came charging
Out of the wood.
 
"Come quickly," he begged her,
And grabbed hold of her arm,
"Before they recover
And spread the alarm."
 
Hesitating no more,
Bliss took off with Bill;
They ran into the wood
And on up a hill.
 
"Your dress is too tight!"
Cried Bill, "I'm a ninny."
"No problem," said Bliss,
"I'll make it a mini."
 
And there on the spot
She altered her dress;
She tore off the bottom
Without muss or mess.
 
Asked Bliss, "How will we keep
Ourselves out of the grave?"
Said Bill, "Come with me
To a secluded cave.
 
"Nobody knows it
But me, and it's near;
We can hide ourselves there
Until coastwise it's clear."
 
They soon heard the sounds
Of pursuit as they ran.
"Can we make it?" gasped Bliss.
Assured Bill, "Yes, we can."
 
They made it, fell panting
Upon the cave floor.
But soon Bliss took a look
At the clothes that she wore.
 
"What's left of my dress
Is all dirty!" she cried.
"White isn't your color,"
Our suave Bill replied.
 
"When it's dark we will sneak
Up the steep mountain trail,
And down to my cabin;
At this we can't fail,
 
"For I know every inch
Of this trail and others;
Once home we'll be safe from
Your parents and brothers.
 
"And then we'll get married;
Your dress will be new."
"Stop right there," said Bliss,
"I can't marry you.
 
"It's true that you're handsome,
And stalwart and brave;
Without you I'd be
In the church, not this cave.
 
"Many thanks for your help;
I owe you a lot.
But you're just a hermit,
Whether high-tech or not.
 
"You gave me the guts
To get out on my own,
To do my own thing
And to turn every stone.
 
"Now I want to travel,
See lots of new places,
Castles and rivers
And new people's faces.
 
"In addition I'd like
Some nice clothing and jewels."
Bill had always thought folks
Who liked diamonds were fools.
 
He was crushed; it appeared
He'd been left with the dregs.
He sat looking at Bliss,
And admiring her legs,
 
And the rest of her, too;
He would not let her go.
"Well, maybe," he said,
"I too can grow.
 
"I'm great with computers,
I'll make lots of money;
Then maybe we'll take
A trip or two--Honey."
 
Bliss smiled and asked,
"Will you buy me some clothes?"
"I'll buy you a lovely
And perfect red rose."
 
"Will you take me to
London, Paris and Rome?"
"Well, let's start with London
And Paris—then home,
 
"For I'll long to see you
In front of our fire,
With your hair all aglow,
In your lacy attire."
 
Bliss melted and said,
"Come on, give me a kiss."
Thus endeth the story
Of Billy and Bliss.

 


Alan Cook, Mystery and walking writer


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Alan Cook



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