Most of my grandsons hit a magical moment in their childhood when they are totally enamored with trash trucks. They hear them coming up the street and they rush to the window to watch. For a certain number of years most boys dream of the joy of becoming a trash truck driver or at least to be the guy who hangs off the corner of the truck while it pulls away.
I wrote this poem to read to them and to feed their imagination. It did the trick. It may have caused a few nightmares as well, I'm not sure. At least it kept them up on the curbs and out of the streets when the trucks were rolling.
They heard it the first time while snug in their beds,
A bumble and rumble that rolled through their heads.
They thought they were dreaming, and still half asleep,
‘Til the hiss and the clatter drove right up their street!
And then they peeked out of their window so high,
And spied the black trash truck grumbling by.
The next day they hid in the bushes and heard
That that truck would eat anything left at the curb.
Anything? Everything! I know it’s absurd,
But that truck was ravenous for stuff at the curb.
It would ripple its lips back and didn’t seem picky,
It even chewed smelly things up that were icky!
Well, then and there, the boys grew all solemn
And plotted to rid their lives of all problems.
Their first choice was quick and easy, they thought;
So the very next night, they put teacher out.
Then they gathered the bullies and all dogs that bite;
And stuffed them in trash cans all through the night.
And then, every morning with fog in the street,
They’d hear that dark noise and pull up their sheets.
They’d peek out their covers and then start to squirm,
But no one and nothing they trashed was returned.
And so they continued to work night and day
Until there was nothing left not thrown away.
But when all their neighbors had finally learned,
The boys themselves were set out on the curb.
And there they sat, squished in cans through the night,
And they struggled and squirmed, their minds in a fright.
And then with the morning sounds there at the curb,
Another sound, deeper and darker, they heard,
A grumble and rumble and rattle and brakes,
And they yelled and they screamed, “It’s all been a mistake!”
But that black truck came anyway, and rippled its snout,
And in slid the trash boys, and they never came out.
So, beware the black rumblings that roll down your street,
And remember the boys who thought trash was a treat;
And never so lightly toss anything out,
And stay off the curbs when trash trucks are about.