Home | My favorite poem

How to Treat Elves

by Morris Bishop

I met an elf-man in the woods,
the wee-est little elf!
Sitting under a mushroom tall—
'twas taller than himself.

"How do you do, little elf," I said,
"and what do you do all day?"
"I dance and frolic about," said he,
"and jump about and play!

"I su'prise the butterflies, and when
a katydid I see,
'Katy didn't!' I say to him, and
'Katy did!' he says to me!

"I hide behind my mushroom stalk
when Mister Mole comes through,
and only just to fwighten him
I jump out and say, 'Boo!'

"And then I swing on a cobweb swing,
up in the air so high!
And the crickets chirp just to hear me sing,
'Upsy daisy die!'

"And then I play with the baby chicks—
I call them, 'Chick! chick! chick!'
And what do you think of that?" said he.
I said, "It makes me sick."

It gives me sharp and shooting pains
to listen to such drool,
so I lifted up my foot and squashed
the goddamned little fool.