A Cautionary Tale

(of how we fill our lives)

He filled his pack with bubble wrap
And set off on the trail.
Thus equipped, the carefree sap
Was sure he could not fail.

So light his step,
Straight his back,
His shoulders fresh and strong…
Up steepest trail he fairly floated
Warbling his song:

“For times like these I was set free,
So tell me not that I must care
For all your drudgery.
La di da, twiddle dee!
Like all the birds that sing above
For this I was set free!”


Just as the sun
Behind the mountain
Took her cooling plunge,
Approaching alpine glade he sang,
“So high and far I’ve come;
Dee dum, dee dum, dee dum!”


Feasting eyes on matted grass
The clever lad observed,
“Here the elk bed down to sleep,
And therefore, so shall I.”

Lying there, in bubbles wrapped,
The lad soon fell asleep.
But wasn’t long into the night
That hunger pains began to gnaw,
Bitter cold to creep.

He reached into his empty pack
In search of something, any? thing?
Of all he did not bring
To serve as food and warmth.

Somewhere
In that frigid night
His soul above him floated,
Warbling her song:

“For times like these I was set free
So tell me not that I must care
For all your drudgery.
La di da, twiddle dee!
Like all the birds that sing above
For this I was set free!”


Then, looking down from whence she’d come,
“Die dumb, die dumb, die dumb!
On matted grass, eternal bed,
La he died — twiddle dead.”


– Brad Hepp (2019)

This silly poem was inspired by Psalm 16:2: “I say to the LORD, ‘You are my LORD; I have no good apart from you.'” How much of my day is spent pursuing “good” apart from the Lord, doing things that seem pleasant, but which He has not given me to do? Such folly invites the fate of a mountain climber who chooses to pack only what lightens his load.

As much as he’d probably prefer to deny it, Don Regier helped me with a few of the lines.

here’s the image I used for this poem
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2 Comments

  1. There was a young man from Japan,
    Whose poetry no one could scan.
    When told it was so,
    He said “Yes, I know,
    But I try to get as many words into the last line as I can.”

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