The Woodpecker

(apologies to EAP)

Once upon a midday dreary, I was printing, weak and weary,
Many a quaint and curious image of forgotten lore,
    While I plotted burn-in mapping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my darkroom door.
" 'Tis my wife," I softly muttered, "tapping at my darkroom door -
        Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I recall that it was in the early Fall,
As each new developed failure found its fate upon the floor.
    So that now, to still the fleeting question, yet I stood repeating,
"Tis my lovely wife entreating entrance at my darkroom door -
My dear, charming wife entreating entrance at my darkroom door; -
        This it is, and nothing more."

Presently the sound grew stronger; hesitating then no longer: -
"Yes," said I, "my sweetie, truly your forgiveness I implore;
    I was printing, as it happen'd, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my darkroom door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you." - here I opened wide the door,
        Bright light there, and nothing more.

Back into the darkroom turning, all my soul within me churning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
    "Surely," said I, "surely it is someone there outside yet yearning.
Let me see, then, what there at is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore -
        "Perhaps the wind and nothing more."

Sudden, without hesitation, I came to the realization -
Wife was in her studio o'er me, o'er me on the second floor.
    "Dear," said I, "was that you tapping? Tapping at my darkroom door?"
"No!", said she, " 'twas not I tapping, tapping at your darkroom door.
I would say 'twas but a woodpecker, one that I have seen before."
        Woodpecker pecking, nothing more.

Naught 'twas but a pecker pecking, this is all she did now reckon,
For the gentle tapping I had heard above my darkroom door?
    "I've seen the same." she quickly offered.
"On the outside of the building, this same bird I've seen before.
"Tis a woodpecker. And that's not 'tapping'!"
        A pecker pecking, nothing more.

I burst outside, my heart now burning, 'round the corner
I ran turning to behold a woodpecker pecking -
    Large holes up near the second floor.
"Holes!" I cried! Foul, wicked creature, pecking holes -
In siding high up off the ground ten feet or more!
        "Off, damned pecker! Peck no more!"

But the pecker, sitting lonely on the placid wall, made only
Yet more pecks, as if his soul in that one act he did outpour.
    Nothing else he did much mattered – as the wall with holes was shattered.
In my thoughts just one thing mattered, "Other birds have flown before -
By the morrow you will leave me, lesser birds have flown before."
        "Wretched fowl, thou’ll peck no more!"

Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to drill such holes so plainly,
Though its reason little meaning - little relevancy bore;
    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with hearing pecks above his darkroom door.
Bird that makest such destruction – drawn by rot in the construction.
        "Away, foul wretch, and peck no more!"

So I stood engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
For the one whose mighty beak had bored into the building's side;
    This and more I stood divining, with my head turned up reclining
On the lawn outside the darkroom, in the sunlight shining o'er.
But those rays were quickly dimming; day whose light would soon be o'er,
        Must work fast, 'tis eventide!

Then methought the air seemed denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls twinkled in the cloud filled sky.
    "Damn," I cried, "black clouds are forming, and too soon it will be storming!"
Rain and darkness coming and with holes to patch up high.
Open wounds there in the siding, wounds that made me want to sigh.
        Must work fast, a storm is nigh!

Away I fled unto Home Depot, buy the "Great Stuff" that I need so
I could fill the holes before the rain came pouring down.
    Foam-in-a-can for insulation, temporary situation -
Yet the wall would be kept dry until the raging storm was o'er.
Climbed the ladder, filled the holes, as the daylight was no more.
       "Hah!", I swore, "he'll peck no more!"

Sweet relief came in the morn, the foam had hardened in the torn
Recesses of the holes that had been wrought in the wall’s core.
    Holes, for now, were fully filled. And the pecking had been stilled
At last, so off to work I go until the ending of the day.
Rest assured the pecker had at least been held at bay.
        Begone, damned pecker, and peck no more.

But alas, upon returning, ‘twas a scene most disconcerting –
Two more holes were now seen newly peck’d into the wall.
    This fowl of Satan doth now vex me! What new evil I yet must see?
Blasted bird! What madness draws you back as though 'tis meant to be?
What deed did'st I do to you to merit such snide mockery?
        This horrid deed, from bird so small.

Time it took to engineer hardened planks for new veneer
On the wall to cover all the holes which it hath bore.
    Cover all the ancient rotting that the fowl found so besotting.
Now there should be naught thing left to tempt his pecking beak.
Nothing that this Hell-spawned creature shall find need to seek.
        Foul woodpecker - peck no more.