The Time Has Come

 

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “to talk of many things.
Of cloture votes— and civil rights— and Martin Luther Kings.”

~ Lewis Carroll, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”

 

“The Walrus and the Carpenter” was in my seventh-grade literature book. I fell in love with it included it in my poetry notebook, written in ink with a then-newfangled cartridge pen. It took a lot of cartridges to copy it perfectly. I  drew an illustration from the book  on the front cover. I also memorized it.

President Lyndon B. Johnson by Arnold Newman WHPO. Public domain. via Wikipedia.

About a year later, I was delighted to find the political cartoon in a newspaper—the San Antonio Express-News or the Austin American Statesman, whichever was delivering to my house fifty or sixty miles away. I cut it out and pinned it on my wall with pictures of my cow. Today it surfaced.

For those too young to recognize them, the Carpenter represents President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Walrus represents Everett Dirksen, Senate Minority Leader, who helped write the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968. Both Dirksen and the Walrus had exceedingly curly hair.

Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (center) by Warren Leffler. Public domain. via Wikipedia.

Not long after finding the cartoon, I learned that a cousin who visited every summer had memorized the poem, too. For three consecutive years, while waiting for her plane back to Los Angeles to board, we walked up and down the concourse of the San Antonio International Airport reciting “The Walrus and the Carpenter” in unison. We had plenty of time, because Continental was usually two to three hours late. The airport didn’t see much traffic in those days and the concourse was practically empty, so only a few travelers looked at us funny.

The entire poem appears at Poets.org https://poets.org/poem/walrus-and-carpenter

Below is a link to a dramatic reading by Roy McCready on Youtube.

 

 

 

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