Poison In The Water

There was poison in the water
And it wasn’t fit to drink;
So we got ourselves together
And we had a little think…

We were told to “just ignore it”
We were told “it’s not so bad”
We were told that sanitation
Was a silly, passing fad

We could just avoid the fountain
We could just avoid the taps,
And the problem would resolve itself
Eventually, perhaps

There are sensible precautions—
Keep your mouth shut as you shower;
If you’re feeling really thirsty,
Maybe boil it for an hour

There are antidotes available
Or so, at least, we’re told,
But they’re getting hard to find these days
And some are rather old

If we get our act together,
We can do it! I can tell…

…And it won’t disturb the fellows
Who are shitting in the well.


  1. Nentuaby says

    For some reason, I automatically processed this in my head as if it were a filk based on “Battle of New Orleans.”

  2. Cuttlefish says

    Thanks, all!

    Nentuaby, that is a fun little exercise–a bit faster than I naturally hear it, but more fun!

  3. thunk = ∫ SQRRAWK! d(MQG) says

    St. Petersburg for ya. (last I heard).

    It’s more that the water there stinks, however.

  4. danoberste says

    Can I steal this? I’d be delighted to do it with whatever attribution you’d prefer.

    Our Water authority is bending over backwards to try get watershed protections in place without asking anything of the developers who are responsible for the runoff.

    By the way, it’s GREAT!

  5. Cuttlefish says

    Go ahead and use it–attribute to “Cuttlefish”, or link back here.

    It’s interesting–here and on twitter, I’m getting a few comments like this, that see it as a poem about pollution–particularly of waterways. It is, of course, but it is also very much not.

  6. vel says

    amazingly good for both environmental subjects and theistic poison. Should be up there with Niemoller’s “poem” “first they came…”

  7. Joan says

    (Sung to “Listen to the story of a man named Jed. “)

    Well, we might clean up our water
    But we’re still left in the lurch
    Because nobody is bothering
    To purge the Catholic Church.

    We could work around the water
    If we just could stand the smell
    But we can’t assault the Church
    Cause it will damn us all to Hell.

  8. ginseng says

    I didn’t see it as a poem about pollution, I see it as a comment on the current harassment discussion and the MRAs in the skeptic & atheist movement who are poisening the well.

  9. Cuttlefish says

    Ginseng, you win the Uri Geller Mind-reading prize–that was the original intent. It actually makes me very happy to see (at least) two different other interpretations, for 2 reasons. One, it makes the poem more abstract and less concrete (my verses trend very concrete); two, it suggests that the harassment issue is not the only thing on people’s minds. It’s big, but if my brilliant readers aren’t seeing it everywhere, that’s probably a good thing. Um… even though it’s pretty much everywhere. So maybe I shouldn’t be so happy.

  10. Die Anyway says

    Darn, I wish I had thought of it as more generic. Unfortunately, there have been so many news stories in our area (Pinellas County, Florida) of poisonous smelling water (and government denial) and actual poisoned groundwater that I assumed it was based on a news item from here.


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