POEM

Although Garé and Carl worked closely together all of their married lives they were never credited together in any professional, published material. Except on one single occasion! Sometime early in their marriage - presumably in 1955 - they wrote a special poem which was published in the local Hemet News on December 26. The poem, which was mentioned as a lament, offers a very strong contribution to the (still!) ongoing debate on giving children firearms at a tender age. The couple's views on the subject becomes blatantly clear in this very atypical poem that lies miles from their usual artistic endeavours.
On the other hand there can be little doubt that the poem had a profound impact in the small community, where the Barkses were highly valued for their social commitments and contributions to the society. From reading the lament it is easy to see, though, that the couple were not accustomed to writing poems, but you can also sense Carl's eminent ability to slowly build up to the final crescendo, a technique he used repeatedly in his comic book stories.

In a note to the editor the couple wrote: We've put some post-Christmas notes into verse. The poem is called 'The Day After Christmas', and here it is. - Indeed! Apart from the initial publishing the poem is presented for the first time ever!

 

 

No part of this poem may be published in any form without clear reference to this website!

 

 

'Twas the day after Christmas
And all over the map,
Not a creature was stirring
Unless he was a sap.
The B-Bs and bullets
Ricocheted through the trees,
Where kids with their new guns
Were busy as bees.

Johnny and Joey and Margery too,
With B-B and slingshot and a new .22,
Were popping at light globes
And targets and things,
And especially at creatures
With feelings and wings.

Yes, the day after Christmas
There arose such a clatter
There weren't enough cops
To see what was the matter.
All the birds that weren't killed
In the first shooting rush
Huddled fearful and bleeding
In bramble and brush.

The warbler that sang with me
Yesterday's carol
Lay dead with its mate
In the distant chaparral.
A wintering robin
Will perch here no more.
His little left leg
Landed outside my door.

The thrushes and finches
That sang in my roses
Were sadly and prayerfully
Counting their noses.
'Twas a wonderful Christmas,
A day of great joy -
Provided a bird
Didn't meet up with a boy.

A dad beamed with pride
At his gun slinging kid,
Enjoying his last chance
To feel as he did.
For the kid aimed at old pop,
From barely two feet
And scattered his brains
Clear out to the street.

So perhaps it would add
To the joys of the season
If we gave with each gift
Some thinking and reason.
Give the teaching of love
For the things that are living,
That's the greatest of gifts
That is ours for the giving.

Carl and Garé Barks
Hemet
Dec. 26

 

The couple ended the unusual poem - which appropriately was published under the heading Open Court - with this message to the editor: If you've read this far, we hope you'll agree with the ideas expressed and that some of your readers will also agree with a couple of artists turned poets.

 

 

BACK TO WRITINGS