The Ballad of Hillary Snow
It was common knowledge in that part of town
(and in other precincts it was gaining some ground)
that kids disliked playing with Hillary Snow
because of the way that she carried on so
whenever she felt like she had been slighted.
It didn't take much to get her excited.
A toy in the arms of another young friend
was enough to send Hillary off 'round the bend,
fussing and fighting, scratching and biting.
For miles around there'd be buses colliding,
for the sound of her screams was famously known
to carry a highly unsettling tone
that made people want to yank out their hair—
to slobber like monkeys—to gibber and stare
till whatever young Hillary wanted at last
was given back into her tight little grasp.
To most other children it didn't seem righteous
that Hillary prospered while so unpoliteous.
In fact, Sid Gollub and Natasha McDivitt
and Farley O'Slubb and Myrtle Rae Trivett
begged their parents not to make them appear
at Hillary's house for her birthday each year.
But this time was different. Word got around
that Hillary's folks had sat the girl down
and pleaded with Hillary please to be nice.
Because they knew pleading might not suffice,
they also tried bribing their nettlesome daughter
with gewgaws and gifties they'd secretly bought her
and others they promised, of every description:
a desperate-means measure; a last-chance prescription,
but the promises did seem to make an impression.
The lass and her parents emerged from that session
with a solid accord: no snorting, no shrieking,
no collapses on floors while others were speaking.
She'd act like a lady—her word was her bond—
and be well-rewarded. At last the day dawned.
Oh, how the sun sparkled! How the tykes cheered!
For the party was nothing at all like they'd feared.
They could play with whatever toys they enjoyed—
With Fantastical Space Bombs! With Slippery Floyd!
With a Pneumatic Goo Maker (CAUTION: REAL GOO)
and a diaphanous electronic didgeridoo!
It's hard to say now just what happened that day
but the cause was a simple one, some people say.
Hillary realized that the children who'd come—
not some, but all eighty—were having more fun
than she was. But she was, you see, the point of it all,
the center of everything, belle of the ball,
and to see, just to witness, that Myrtle Rae Trivett
laughing and dancing made Hillary livid.
Why was Sid Gollub turning flips in the air
off the three-footer board while everyone stared?
This was her party! Her once-yearly bash!
So forget the danged pony! All the grimy green cash!
Her parents were more than usually frightened
to see how Hill's anger rapidly heightened.
She drew back her shoulders, her arms and her knees.
She tensed up her innards. She squelched a large sneeze
like a party balloon that's been blown up too tight,
or an overripe pumpkin on Halloween night.
It's difficult here not to be somewhat graphic.
As authorities quickly rerouted air traffic
she twirled like a sprinkler dousing the grass.
She jerked like a demon attending high mass.
This was a doozie, a real humfaloodler;
Nothing they shouted even seemed to get through to her.
And so little Hill unleashed her last tantrum,
a seizure unmatched by any panjandrum
or emir or imam or monarch of old.
The sight was enough to turn torrid blood cold.
As she started to look like a ripe habanero,
Sid Gollub screamed, "Run! She's a-fixin' to blow!"
and sure enough, upward did Hillary geyser,
fragments of torso like stars in the sky, sir.
And as gravity started pulling them low
all the happy kids shouted, "It's HILLARY snow!"
From that time onward, it was part of her fame:
no two flakes of that girl looked exactly the same.
The point of this poem is not give lessons
nor even to rattle with metrical mention
all those in our ranks who have not learned to share.
The aim is to show, for all who may care,
how a mean a little child—Tyrannis, sic semper!—
exploded herself with a very bad temper.