A couple quick thoughts, before we commence,
So what you'll read next makes a little more sense.
I'm writing these words with intent to distribute
An homage, a compliment, accolade, tribute...

To one of the greatest American bards,
Arranger of verses and playful canards,
A writer of talent whose fame still exists,
Whose work still (years later), makes bestseller lists.

Why write of him now? you might smartly inquire
What lessons and truths do I hope to inspire?
His backstory's not nearly well know'n enough:
He got his first break when the going got tough.

Great, preamble's done. Let our story begin--
When a student named Geisel was caught with some gin.
For the sanction he served as result of that fact
Had a fortunate, unforeseen, happy impact.

See, the Ivy League college where he was a student
Decided his alcohol use was imprudent,
And so to discourage such harmful procliv'ties,
The dean barred him from all his fav'rite activities.

No frat house, no glee club, no nothing, it seemed,
But the hardest to stomach? "No more magazine!"
For Geisel's main talent, I'd guess near two-thirds
Had been his facility wrestling with words.

(A quick extra note on the side, in addition--
This whole story took place back in Prohibition.
And as for "no magazine," back in that age,
All writing meant ink, on a physical page!)

The punishment went straight to young Geisel's core
For his urge to create was too great to ignore!
He had to keep writing; it's how people knew him!
And that's when it hit him: "I'll just use a pseud'nym."

Yes! Sharing his words now mandated the use
Of a pen name. He brainstormed, and came up with "Seuss."
And then to the Seuss, Geisel tacked on a "Doctor"
All part of his efforts to outwit the proctor.

And that subterfuge led to Geisel's career,
Which later brought children great joy and great cheer!
He rhymed and drew pictures that sorta explained 'em,
Said: You have the children and "I'll entertain 'em."

Now, I share this story at this date and time
(Apart from the fact that I just like to rhyme),
To drive home a point about losings and winnings--
How bad endings turn into great new beginnings

Imagine what Geisel thought, nabbed with his booze--
Imagine how YOU might have felt in his shoes!
Imagine the trouble he thought he had wrought,
When he and his contraband liquor were caught.

Yet, Geisel moved on with a lack of repentance.
He moved right along while still serving his sentence.
He didn't give up, didn't drown in frustration
Instead, Geisel just used his IM-AG-I-NA-TION!

Imagine! Without Geisel's pen-name contortions
We'd live in a world without Grinches and Hortons
No Lorax, no Wocket, no Cat in Hat, too
No Mr. Brown Moo, no I Ran the Zoo!
No foxes in sockses, no ham and eggs green,
No hopping on pop, and no Mulberry Street.

If Geisel with hooch in his room didn't blow it,
Our childhoods might have been deprived of this poet
No whimsical rhymes so endearingly foolish,
No one fish, no two fish, no red fish, no blue fish.

I don't know 'bout you, but I find it inspiring
This story of gumption built in Geisel's wiring.
And granted, it could be the details are "part-myth"
But that's how it's told, when they tell it at Dartmouth.

So reread this story, perhaps this time orally
Like Geisel-now-Seuss's, it ends somewhat morally.
The lesson my friends, is never to hide
The talent and passion that's burning inside.

And don't let life's pitfalls knock you off the path,
Be strong and resourceful in their aftermath.
For even when you've only your-self to blame
It's those who keep playing who win at life's game!

Published on: Oct 26, 2016
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