A Basket of Flowers

I went to sail upon the sea

Of mankind's discontent,

But all I saw was a fishin' hole

By which I pitched my tent.

I approached its sandy shores,

And was left, well, quite befuddled.

That which I'd thought a vasty sea

Was less than a pond, 't'was a puddle.

I stripped my clothes, not to be daunted,

And dove headlong headfirst…

And found, very much to my chagrin,

The world had been reversed.

I dove in hard, led with my head,

Expecting to hit ground,

But a chasm as deep as Marianas

Was the only thing I found.

I gazed into that briny deep,

Awaiting demons bitter;

But all I saw was two sad shades

Approach me all a-jitter.

In ghostly form they floated to me,

All trembley and pale,

And said, as Robert Zimmerman would,

"It's not a sea, it's a jail!"

"It's true this sea of discontent

Is deep and it is wide,

And it would take ten thousand years

To reach the other side."

"There's plenty that you could explore

If you ever so desired,

But after the first million years

You'd be bored and you'd be tired."

I realized that what they said

Was true as true could be,

And that I'd known it well before

I'd dived into this sea.

"It's best to not be so introspective

And interested in myself;

The proper study of mankind

Is the other books upon the shelf."

I climbed out of the puddle

And headed back downtown

To see if any childhood friends

Were still hanging around.

The town was empty, the lights were off,

No soul disturbed the dark,

Except my dad, who waited calmly

On a bench out in the park.

"Son," he said, "I'm glad you're back,

I really wasn't sure

If you'd get over being self-obsessed

And listening to The Cure."

"You thought this town was a dead end

Where life would be cut short;

Listen for once to crazy old dad:

This town is a spaceport."

"The town entire's gone astronaut,

And I'm not far behind…

To explore the astral fields and fires,

To go new worlds find."

"I told you that we'd take this trip

Years ago, it seems.

Instead it looks like you forgot

And turned to Puddle Dreams."

"I gave you this when you were young,

In fact, you were just two.

I never told you what it was for,

But I said what it would do."

He stepped forward and he hugged me,

And put something in my pocket.

I pulled it out as he walked away:

It was a key to my own rocket.

I looked closely and I saw

Bright words etched upon the key:

A nursery rhyme now understood,

Which he used to read to me:

"This is the key of the kingdom.

In that kingdom there is a city.

In that city there is a street.

In that street there is a yard.

In that yard there is a house.

In that house there is a room.

In that room there is a bed.

On that bed there is a basket.

In that basket there are some flowers.

Flowers in the basket,

Basket on the bed,

Bed in the room,

Room in the house,

House in the yard,

Yard in the street,

Street in the city,

City in the kingdom,

And this is the key of the kingdom."