The Stilt Walker
Charlotte Kennedy

Luciana Formi-dable Sonar Mickle Mackle Jay
Clumped out in highland kilted stilts
One glorious day in May
A day of rarest daisies
And splendiferous croquet
A day when waterlilies shilly shally spider eggs
Image Loading... image adapted from a photograph by Jennifer Buchfink

She clomped right down the garden walk
She clacked on up the street
Her alpine sticks stomped steady
Blazing tartan sails adrift
On she stumped this queenly whaler
Tall as tall as a galleon ship
The folk below so very tiny
Just a fliff of pepply pips

The mayor himself came out to greet her
Couldnšt see her for the clouds
He had to climb up on the shoulders
Of a giant circus clown
And even then his very tall hat
Which he wore in honour due
Only barely reached the bottom
Of her dandy left-on shoe

Luciana Formi-dable
Spoke in tones quite clear and loud
Though it took two days of travel
For each word to reach the crowd
They waited there with bated breath
To catch the falling sounds
That filled three thousand baskets
For the sounds were extra large

All the village weavers gathered
There to intertwine a skein
Spelling Lucianašs message
On a banner made of cheese
Which they hung upon a clothes line
Using pegs of frozen bread
So all the town could see there
Just exactly what she said:

"I've climbed on mountain ridges
Hiked through valleys filled with peat
I've trouped through windless passes
And survived on frozen meat
I've toed the ocean floor and slipped on jelly fish galore
But never, Oh not ever, not for gold or goat or glee
And donšt make me repeat this
Or wešll not get any sleep
But never, Oh not ever, can I step down from this height
I'm stuck on here forever
For these sticks are out of sight

They're like another spine to me
Or two, times three times four
And if I step now to the ground
I'll never be restored
The sky will be too far away, the earth up to my ears
For now I'm used to walking on these wondrous wooden stairs."

Oh dear what will become of me, she oft was wont to say
Luciana Formi-dable Sonar Mickle Mackle Jay

She ate supper on those strident stilts
Trays lowered on a crane
She slept upright against a wall
Held on with resin braids

Her parents grew quite frantic
For to wash her hair they found
Pails of water must be lifted
Hand to hand on ladders long

And to help her with her lyrics
(She had a song to sing at School)
They had need to hold up paper
Tongs as long as fifty mules
    Oh so not cool!

Oh dear what will become of me, she oft was wont to say
Luciana Formi-dable Sonar Mickle Mackle Jay

The townsfolk were not yawning
Set an awning on the lawn
Up saunters Sue the carpenter
With overalls and awls

She viewed the scene with practised eye
And strummed on her saw band
Called out: Oh Luciana
The answer is at hand

We'll turn those girders into whistles
So they'll work horizontally
Once you're back down here among us
We'll drill holes for F# C
Prop the whistles up on boulders
You can play such melodies
That the folks will come from miles around
To dance the jig in threes
    Kick high, bend knees!

But a whistle is not needful
Cried Luciana in despair
For up here I hear the whistle
Of the birds, the winds, the air
It's a whistle like a kissle
On my cheek, my ears, my hair
And there is no sound upon this earth
That ever could compare.

Oh dear what will become of me, she oft was wont to say
Luciana Formi-dable Sonar Mickle Mackle Jay

Up stepped a wizened sailor
With an anchor, rope and winch
His eyes were full of confidence
His boots were full of fish
This is surely not a problem
He declared with solemn voice
Luciana, those two wooden shanks
Would make a perfect bow
For a boat to sail the waters
Round the world with you in tow

Just think, a mighty journey
Oceans, bays and rivers dear
But be quick if Išm to make it
For Išm getting on in years.

But a boat is hardly needful
Cried Luciana in despair
For up here I see the planet
On it's journey in e-ther
All the land and seas and valleys
Flow by bravely as can be
There is no ship on earthly trip
And can dip and dive like these

Oh dear what will become of me, she oft was wont to say
Luciana Formi-dable Sonar Mickle Mackle Jay

Up jumped the market farmer
With a bushel full of corn
She cried: Oh Luciana, I've the answer to the horns
Of your dilemma, don't say never
My cornucropia's plenty enuff
To inspire you to join us
In our village with no fuss
Upon your head we'll set a basket
Filled with loppet grapes and seeds
With another one of rimercrumbs
And puckle buns with cheese
Well have oafs lift loafs of livers,
Bins of pickled berry smots
And these we'll load up one by one
Atop your curls top-notch
You'll bear a towering column
Juiced with parsley punckle pie
And then your head won't feel so lonesone
When it's parted from the sky

But a headful is not heedful
Cried Lucinia in distress
For the eagles would be eatful
Soon digest my new headress

Oh dear what will become of me, she oft was wont to say
Luciana Formi-dable Sonar Mickle Mackle Jay

When sudden larked into the fray
A creature strange and bold
It sat upon a stuffin
Spun with centipedes and moles
It was a lively Poppin
Wearing eye-lits on its nose.

Upon its legs an eiderdown
Of chitlings hung like sprats
And on its head a farthing
Wrapped in quipple ripple mats

The Poppin spoke up loudly
You could hear a pin-stripe drop
And this forsooth is what it said
No quibbles from its mouth:

Luciana Formi-dable Sonar Mickle Mackle Jay
The answer is so simple
You could find it in the hay
The sky is neither here nor there
If fact, it's up your nose!
And the earth is everywhere as well
Your brain, your toes, your clothes
So as you step to here now
Which is neither high nor low
Don't forget there could be eyeslits
On the bottoms of your toes
And a large one you might find there
Quite near to your insole

And now as you are travelling
Towards this humble earth
Think: your head is but a giant wheel
A'rolling across the girth
Of griddle stars and meteors
And quantum streams of beams
All frivulous and fravulous
All manner of cuisine

A cart of wheelies is your body
Knows and not, nor in nor out
Not quite, but close, well maybe
Left nor right, now wipe your snout

It's a roundly soundly mixtum
Made of moxy frothy broth
You have my word, my dictum
Yes 'tis true, I swear my troth.

And with this the merry Poppin
Vanished right before her eyes
As Luciana Formi-dable
Stepped beside her townsfolk wise
Who'd rented for a dollar
An immensely circus net
For Luciana as she landed
Safely, soundly, not a dent

Well these days sure have been festy
Luciana said at once
I think that I'll go out and play
Then sneak a snack to scrunch

But just as she was leaving
Her mind no more perplexed
She spied a wanton warbler
On a nest of fiddlesticks

May I join you mistress warbler
On your oaken beam so strong?
I've a yen to see how things might be
While hanging upside down

© 2001 Charlotte Kennedy