The Carpetbagger

With carpetbag in hand, atop a tall white horse

Behind a big brass band, prearranged, of course,

The salesman rode into town in his finest derby hat,

Followed by a barker clown, and a one-eyed cat


The nameless horse with many names has been seen before

Behind the same brass band -- A collective noisy whore

The power was the horse -- an old and plodding steed

That would carry anyone who would adopt his creed


The barker clown was there to bring the people to the street

The one eyed cat would work around among the people's feet

The stealthy cat would listen to learn what the people fear

On the carpetbagger's shoulder he would whisper in his ear


The carpetbagger's name was Frank Lynn Odemsham

He came from out of nowhere -- Maybe on the lam

Some thought he had blown in with the northern breeze

Others said he came from somewhere overseas.


No one knew for sure who this stranger was

But he had them captivated, and he seemed to know their flaws

He gathered daily crowds 'neath the town square flag

They were clambering to know just what was in his bag


The large bag held many things -- That they all agreed

Many things fit for Kings -- and a magic seed

The seed was kept in a nest made of acorn pits

Underneath a bashful squirrel that peeked out through the slits


The barker clown had been in jail for robbery and theft

The sneaky cat watched the clown and circled to the left

The cat, whose name was Preston and the clown, whose name was Earl

Each thought the other would try to eat the squirrel.


Frank reached in his bag, and pulled out bottle number one

And said "This will keep you from the heat stroke of the sun."

"Who would like to have one?" He said it very loud

Quickly, ten were sold into the noisy crowd


Next came a brown bottle labeled number two

"This" he said, "Tastes as fresh as the morning dew"

"It is guaranteed to make your worries go away"

"It is free to all who come, and you will never have to pay"


Everybody took some -- because it's free you know

They drank until their minds took on a mellow glow

Now Frank reached both hands in, going way down deep

And brought out many bottles -- all in one big heap


The barker clown chattered as they sold their bottled ware

To not have what was wanted would have been quite rare

He promised everyone whatever he or she would need

Then reaching in once more, out came the magic seed


"Trust me my friends," he said "This to you I swear"

"It is a magic seed to be planted in the square."

"When planted it will grow to become a mighty tree,"

"To give hope and change you need. This I swear to thee"


Then the Mayor, who said he was wary of the man,

Asked what kind of tree it was, would it grow pecan?

"Yes, it will," Frank said,  "If that is what you wish"

"It will grow it for you, and serve it on a dish"


The Mayor was an honest man who daily flew a kite

And wore a silky top hat tilted slightly to the right

Smoke sifted through his graying beard from a brier pipe

As he warned independent folks not to listen to the hype


The mayor did not believe the carpetbagger's tale

So he was tarred and feathered and rode out on a rail

With pomp and ceremony all the good folk gathered round

As Frank dug a hole and placed the seed into the ground


"Next" Frank said, as he wiped his sweating brow

"We need to make it grow, and I will tell you how"

"Bring the bottles that you bought here and pour them out"

"Pour them on the seed right here just to make it sprout"


Sure enough it sprouted and began to grow quite fast

As they poured they could see large branches were amassed

Just as Frank had promised it gave them what they wished

But they must keep buying bottles just to keep it nourished


Many branches grew -- Some were large and strong

Others kinda puny but still would get quite long

Some produced nothing, and with leeches were festooned,

But the tree was left to grow untended and un-pruned


One branch made peanut butter, another lemonade

One gave miscellaneous snacks -- Everything prepaid

People came from other towns to live beneath the tree

They never had to pour, but plucked daily in the spree


Claude and Jane were country folk who lived down near the creek

And had always come to town every other week

Now they came less often and I guess they had been freed

From the frenzied glut in town -- There was nothing they would need


The town folk poured their bottles out and left them in a pile,

They were gathered and refilled by the clown, the cat and squirrel

They slipped out every night to fill them from some water vats,

And then one night were confronted by a pack of surly rats


The rats said, "we've been watching and we know this whole affair"

"And we will bring it down unless we get our share"

So a big pack of rats were included in the cut,

And bottle prices rose to keep sharing in the glut


The people bought the bottles and poured them on the ground

Took what they wanted from the tree and spread it all around

Ever faster grew the tree high up into the air

It crowded out the courthouse and filled the whole town square


Bert and Barb lived on the edge of town, out on E Z Street

A branch grew through the front door into the Master suite

One twig grew a phonograph and from another they were fed

Needing nothing more now they never left the bed


Many people now would pluck, but could no longer pour

The tree was doing fine, and they had no need for more

Years had come and gone and it may sound kinda funny

The tree provided for them and they had no need for money


The number living under the tree had now become a mob

Demanding more from the tree but no one had a job

As the numbers grew things began to get quite grim

Output was less now from limb to limb to limb


The tree had taken up the town and covered everything

It sucked out the ornate fountain, and dried up the city spring

It shaded everything and the town was no more sunny

Fewer bottles sold now -- They were running out of money



Fewer bottles poured and the stream now dryly sucked

But still people came and plucked and plucked and plucked.

Frank smiled and said goodbye and tipped his derby hat

And quietly left town with the squirrel, the clown, and cat


The pack of rats packed their things and soon would leave town too

To settle in a town where money's interest would accrue

The people were perplexed as the tree withered and died

"What has happened here?" They were asking as they cried


The Town folk are good people -- Most people are the same

It matters not their color -- nor their name or fame

The good people saw a need but failed then to heed

The unintended consequence of a magic seed of greed


Somewhere there's another town many miles away

The sun shines while people work and children are at play

And someone has been watching and has seen another need

And the brass band is tuning as they mount a tall white steed

With carpetbag in hand, atop a tall white horse

Behind a big brass band, prearranged, of course,

The salesman rode into town in his finest derby hat,

Followed by a barker clown, and a one-eyed cat


The nameless horse with many names has been seen before

Behind the same brass band -- A collective noisy whore

The power was the horse -- an old and plodding steed

That would carry anyone who would adopt his creed


The barker clown was there to bring the people to the street

The one eyed cat would work around among the people's feet

The stealthy cat would listen to learn what the people fear

On the carpetbagger's shoulder he would whisper in his ear


The carpetbagger's name was Frank Lynn Odemsham

He came from out of nowhere -- Maybe on the lam

Some thought he had blown in with the northern breeze

Others said he came from somewhere overseas.


No one knew for sure who this stranger was

But he had them captivated, and he seemed to know their flaws

He gathered daily crowds 'neath the town square flag

They were clambering to know just what was in his bag


The large bag held many things -- That they all agreed

Many things fit for Kings -- and a magic seed

The seed was kept in a nest made of acorn pits

Underneath a bashful squirrel that peeked out through the slits


The barker clown had been in jail for robbery and theft

The sneaky cat watched the clown and circled to the left

The cat, whose name was Preston and the clown, whose name was Earl

Each thought the other would try to eat the squirrel.


Frank reached in his bag, and pulled out bottle number one

And said "This will keep you from the heat stroke of the sun."

"Who would like to have one?" He said it very loud

Quickly, ten were sold into the noisy crowd


Next came a brown bottle labeled number two

"This" he said, "Tastes as fresh as the morning dew"

"It is guaranteed to make your worries go away"

"It is free to all who come, and you will never have to pay"


Everybody took some -- because it's free you know

They drank until their minds took on a mellow glow

Now Frank reached both hands in, going way down deep

And brought out many bottles -- all in one big heap


The barker clown chattered as they sold their bottled ware

To not have what was wanted would have been quite rare

He promised everyone whatever he or she would need

Then reaching in once more, out came the magic seed


"Trust me my friends," he said "This to you I swear"

"It is a magic seed to be planted in the square."

"When planted it will grow to become a mighty tree,"

"To give hope and change you need. This I swear to thee"


Then the Mayor, who said he was wary of the man,

Asked what kind of tree it was, would it grow pecan?

"Yes, it will," Frank said,  "If that is what you wish"

"It will grow it for you, and serve it on a dish"


The Mayor was an honest man who daily flew a kite

And wore a silky top hat tilted slightly to the right

Smoke sifted through his graying beard from a brier pipe

As he warned independent folks not to listen to the hype


The mayor did not believe the carpetbagger's tale

So he was tarred and feathered and rode out on a rail

With pomp and ceremony all the good folk gathered round

As Frank dug a hole and placed the seed into the ground


"Next" Frank said, as he wiped his sweating brow

"We need to make it grow, and I will tell you how"

"Bring the bottles that you bought here and pour them out"

"Pour them on the seed right here just to make it sprout"


Sure enough it sprouted and began to grow quite fast

As they poured they could see large branches were amassed

Just as Frank had promised it gave them what they wished

But they must keep buying bottles just to keep it nourished


Many branches grew -- Some were large and strong

Others kinda puny but still would get quite long

Some produced nothing, and with leeches were festooned,

But the tree was left to grow untended and un-pruned


One branch made peanut butter, another lemonade

One gave miscellaneous snacks -- Everything prepaid

People came from other towns to live beneath the tree

They never had to pour, but plucked daily in the spree


Claude and Jane were country folk who lived down near the creek

And had always come to town every other week

Now they came less often and I guess they had been freed

From the frenzied glut in town -- There was nothing they would need


The town folk poured their bottles out and left them in a pile,

They were gathered and refilled by the clown, the cat and squirrel

They slipped out every night to fill them from some water vats,

And then one night were confronted by a pack of surly rats


The rats said, "we've been watching and we know this whole affair"

"And we will bring it down unless we get our share"

So a big pack of rats were included in the cut,

And bottle prices rose to keep sharing in the glut


The people bought the bottles and poured them on the ground

Took what they wanted from the tree and spread it all around

Ever faster grew the tree high up into the air

It crowded out the courthouse and filled the whole town square


Bert and Barb lived on the edge of town, out on E Z Street

A branch grew through the front door into the Master suite

One twig grew a phonograph and from another they were fed

Needing nothing more now they never left the bed


Many people now would pluck, but could no longer pour

The tree was doing fine, and they had no need for more

Years had come and gone and it may sound kinda funny

The tree provided for them and they had no need for money


The number living under the tree had now become a mob

Demanding more from the tree but no one had a job

As the numbers grew things began to get quite grim

Output was less now from limb to limb to limb


The tree had taken up the town and covered everything

It sucked out the ornate fountain, and dried up the city spring

It shaded everything and the town was no more sunny

Fewer bottles sold now -- They were running out of money



Fewer bottles poured and the stream now dryly sucked

But still people came and plucked and plucked and plucked.

Frank smiled and said goodbye and tipped his derby hat

And quietly left town with the squirrel, the clown, and cat


The pack of rats packed their things and soon would leave town too

To settle in a town where money's interest would accrue

The people were perplexed as the tree withered and died

"What has happened here?" They were asking as they cried


The Town folk are good people -- Most people are the same

It matters not their color -- nor their name or fame

The good people saw a need but failed then to heed

The unintended consequence of a magic seed of greed


Somewhere there's another town many miles away

The sun shines while people work and children are at play

And someone has been watching and has seen another need

And the brass band is tuning as they mount a tall white steed