The Sun

Born of a visit to Fairbanks, Alaska, where I had ample opportunity to consider the imponderables of quasi-perpetual sunlight, and fond memories of the rhyming skills of W.S. Gilbert, who kept Sir Arthur Sullivan, his long-suffering collaborator, hopping, trying to find melodies to accommodate and accentuate his brilliant lyrics…

They say mad dogs and Englishmen too frequently go out in him
And rainmakers and shamans daydream constantly of floutin’ him
While ski resorts and spas, it seems, will never tire of toutin’ him
And surf bums, golfers, and anaemics tend to wax devout in him

Sinuous continental superhighways writhe and melt in him
And vendors of cosmetics all appreciate the gelt in him,
While zebus, gnus, kudus and boks go bounding o’er the Veldt in him
And many a naive beauty’s grown red welts on her svelte pelt in him

Oenophiles and their vintners have a tried and trusted friend in him
Saskatchewan agrologists have met a broiling end in him
Floridans in retirement have all kinds of time to spend in him
And Aussies spend their Christmases, sans snow and ice, defendin’ him.

Distilled of immortality (no sun can ever set on him)
He’s perfect punctuality (no book would take a bet on him)
If he were on the Stock Exchange I’d buy all I could get on him
And yet, I’ll shortly close the door of verse with no regret on him

The Sun, Old Sol, Le Roi Soleil, The Friendly Giant, the Lord of Light
Through pre- and present history, through ages dark and ages bright
The Source of Power, Life-giving Force, the death of darkness, foe of night
The face no man can look upon unaided and retain his sight.

We’ve honoured and appeased him, supplicated and placated him
Revered him and despised him, worshipped him and even hated him
We’ve measured him and studied him, we’ve classified and rated him
And, practicing pollution, virtually emasculated him

But northern Arctic Esquimaux revere him when he comes to call
(Though their equatorial counterparts might doubt the saneness of it all)
And Southern Californians don’t ever doubt him _ not at all
And neither, for that matter, do the dwellers in Bengal!