Flight of Fancy

Once I thought I might pilot a spaceship.

And conquer the Treens with Dan dare,

Unseat the Mekon from his dinosaur steed

And end his reptilian reign. 

I would howl at the moon with Akela

After drawing the teeth of Shere-Khan.

I’d peer down Zam-zammah’s muzzle

Then slide down the barrel all day.

I would swing through trees with anthropoid apes,

Do battle with blue men on Mars.

I’d smash the machines of the morlocks

Give the Eloi sunshine and ease. 

But I ate of the tree of knowledge,

Perhaps shades of the workhouse closed in,

So I know it would take billions of dollars

To fulfil my Venusian dreams.

Now Rice Boroughs’ apes are endangered

Shere- Khan’s pelt’s on a penthouse floor,

Mowgli’s no more than a cartoon film

And the Bandar- Log do as they please.

The Nautilus now lies rusting

Forty fathoms below the swell

With Nemo in Davy Jones’ locker

Entombed with all of his crew.

In Lahore they have fenced off the big gun

Boys can’t slide down the barrel today.

They’ll not hear the bang of jezails anymore

And the great game’s now played without rules.

Still, for me the fantasy phoenix

Will not be allowed to die

But at times be re-ignited in imagination

By a spark from a literary find.

Harry Wells

There are nine lierary sources (including from comics) in these lines. See if you can spot them.

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