COD LIVER OIL

One shouldn’t complain — but why did God
put such a foul taste in the livers of cod?

You may reply (as my gym master would):
“If it doesn’t HURT, boy, it’s not doing you good!”

Well, I’ve sailed the Seven Seas and drunk albatross soup;
it was scrumptious compared to that cod liver gloop.

I shrank from each spoonful when I was small,
and time’s passing hasn’t improved it at all.

If the rest of the cod had a taste to match,
most fishermen would throw away all their catch,

while the bravest – or poorest – would haul their nets up,
and drown the cod’s taste, and their sorrows, in ketchup.

From Isle of Sheppey to Mississippi,
you wouldn’t find cod in a single “chippie”.

Yet the experts declare, and their word is official:
“If you want to be healthy, you have to take fish-oil.”

No good coddling myself. Let’s just swallow the stuff… —
Hey, I suddenly like it. I can’t get enough!

They’ve put orange flavour into it. Just see
what a difference that makes to a fuss-pot like me.

This life can be bitter, yet look at it right —
you’ll find ease follows hardship as day follows night.

So all praise to Allah, the Generous Giver,
Who holds great rewards for every good liver.

by Muhammad Isa Waley


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