Jack and Jill and the Old Silver Moon

dedicated to Anthony John Woo
inspired by Pop Goes the Weasel: The Secret Meaning of Nursery Rhymes by Albert Jack

Jack, said his sister
I’m thirsty and sore
Let’s seek out the well of the moon
His water so silver
Runs endless and sweet
A drop or I’ll perish soon

Jill, said her brother
It’s thieves we will be
The two of us rascals and lords
We’ll fly to the moon
And we’ll drink of his well
And steal all the gems of his horde

The moon has a cannon
As white as an egg
It blisters and blusters and roars
It blunders and thunders
And CRACK! goes your pate
And down falls your head ever more

Now Jill is a beggar
And Jack is an urchin
And long burn the stars in the night
They watch the youths climb
Through the murk and the grime
To steal them a pail full of light

Boom! goes the moon
And the white cannon fires
And thus a new crater is born
The bucket lies broken
The children the same
With none but the stars left to mourn

Jack, said his sister
We’ve had an adventure
Jill, said her brother, it’s true
And if I must die
Well, I’ll die in the sky
And at least at the end, it’s with you

The moon, he was moved
Like a god on his throne
And so, like a god, he was kind
The dust of their tongues
Did he lay with a kiss
And they turned all to silver so fine

Now Jill is the queen
Of the well of the moon
And Jack is the king of the egg
It’s on them to mete out
their mercy or murder
To children too hungry to beg

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