Umbrella’s lighter offshoot


The Tortoise and the Hare

by Jan D. Hodge

Hare was a confident
fellow, but sadly he
lacked the humility
virtue assumes.
He was convinced of his
boasting that he could out-
run the simooms.

Seeking occasion to
show off his prowess, he
challenged a laggardly
tortoise to race,
certain the ludicrous
offered no possible
threat of disgrace.

Tortoise, a case-hardened
realist, knew that the
odds were against him, but
drolly agreed,
forcing himself into
action and straining to
get up to speed.

Hare with a laugh started
running and quickly was
so far ahead that he
sat down to rest,
when, overcome by a
impulse, his head nodded
down to his chest.

Snoring more loudly and
sleeping more deeply, he
dreamed he was hearing a
glorious song.
Meanwhile, old Tortoise kept
plodding and plodding and
plodding along

till he passed Hare, who was
caught in a horrible
dream being badly out-
run by a djinn.
We who of course have been
programmed anticipate
Tortoise will win.

Don’t you believe it, for
just then a tickle of
dust in his nostrils caused
Tortoise to sneeze.
Startled, the lagomorph
raced to the finish as
slick as you please.

Tortoise, however, was
humble and easily
took it in stride with a
nonchalant air,
quipping as neophyte
that he had only been
whipped by a hare.

Jan D. Hodge grew up in a letterpress print shop in small town Michigan, was educated at the Universities of Michigan (B.A., M.A.) and New Mexico (Ph.D.; dissertation on Dickens), and taught for 32 years at colleges in Illinois and Iowa before retiring. His poems have appeared in North American Review, New Orleans Review, Iambs & Trochees, South Coast Poetry Journal, Western Wind, and elsewhere.