A Birthday Surprise, 7/Feb/1812
Who noticed the weather that wintertime?
Not dirty enough to call off dances
Or hinder fathers from proclaiming births
In houses much like others in that place.
Still, a thousand more were born along o' you,
Queer-named: not Pickens or Rickens or Quickens
But Smangle, Smauker, Pipchin and Pippen,
A spy named Cly, a teacher called Peecher,
All odd, unheralded like you, though one,
A David born to share your natal day,
Had talky Micawber to match "My Father,"
Gardens in mem'ry, kneeling attendants.
But you, that day! Who sensed your stunning gifts?
The "Lady" proclaimed for producing an heir?
The boastful John treating mates at the pub?
Or, far-off, the keeper of the house at Crewe?
You gave no hint, not knowing what you were,
A routine child in a small sea town, but
Quick, observant, readying to surprise
Them all, your land, and--well, yes!--the world.
UC Santa Barbara
Editor, Dickens Forum (dickns-l)