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Prevention Or Cure – A Poem

1 September 2008

Twas a dangerous cliff, as rugged as any,
yet to walk near its edge was so pleasant
that over the side had fallen so many
a duke, and many a peasant.
To fund the solution the people did pledge,
but their projects did not at all tally.
To some the need was a fence on the edge
to others, `an ambulance in the valley.’
But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,
for it spread to the neighboring city.
A fence may be useful enough they did say,
but the injured need attention and pity.
`The problem is not the cliff’ they said,
`nor is it the slipping or dropping.
It isn’t the slipping that hurts the head
but the shock down below when they’re stopping.’
So the money came in, the Pounds and the Pence
from the dwellers in highway and alley,
not to purchase a safety fence,
but an ambulance down in the valley.
So day after day as the people did fall,
quick forth the white coats would sally,
to care for the victims – one and all,
with the ambulance down in the valley.
Then a wise one remarked, `its a marvel to me,
that people give far more attention,
to repairing results, when the cause you can see,
is what is needing prevention.’
`Let’s get up the cliff and put up a fence,
come neighbors and friends let us rally.
By stopping the cause we can surely dispense
with the ambulance down in the valley.’
`Oh he’s a fanatic,’ they all agreed,
`Dispense with the ambulance – no never.
Let us give ear to the highly degreed,
for surely they are the more clever.’
`See how their skills are daily dispensed,
with wisdom and grace and speed?
Ignore these extremists who want the cliff fenced,
when an ambulance is all that we need.’
So may this sad story come to all ears,
of how many with best of intention,
have wasted their years and lavished their tears,
on treatments instead of prevention.
But a sensible few, who are practical too,
will not bear with this folly much longer.
To them it is sure, preventions better than cure,
and their party will soon be the stronger.
So join us in climbing the cliff dear friend,
and let’s put up the poles and the fence,
Let’s save our fellows from so terrible end,
and from wasting their Pounds and their Pence.
by Joseph Malines
(Slightly Edited)

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