Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last updated January 1, 2014

The Rime of the Barking Iguana

Bob S. Rice


She stood there in the iron dock, facing the shrouded men
        Who dared her, in the name of the truth, to speak those words again.
Torturers stoked their branding irons until their forges sparked,
        And yet again, she spoke these words: "Yes, my iguana barked!"

Again, the gasp came from the crowd, again, the blazes roared.
        Again, she'd dared to speak those words the orthodox abhorred.
Iguanas wearing neckties, sure, they'd seen a lot around,
        But no reader of rec.pets.herp had heard one make a sound!

A kindly priest rose up, and turned, and faced the Inquisition:
        "Fathers, in the name of the Net, let her change her position!"
He turned: "Come now, confess, my dear, before the Flamers come"
        "We've met some smart iguanas, true, but every one's been dumb."

She bent her eyes down to the ground, but then she looked up, grim:
        "'Flounder' starts barking every time I'm late in feeding him.
"He barks when I'm playing Pink Floyd, and climbs up on my clock,
        "And bobs his head and hisses when I'm playing acid Bach."

"Enough!" screamed the Inquisitors, "Consign her to the flames!"
        "No reptile has vocal cords, besides, who likes smart dames?"
And several threw books at her, but were so peeved they missed,
        The frog-lovers joined in with croaks, while the snake-lovers hissed.

And then, from way back in the room, they heard a high-pitched yap.
        It struck the clustered mob just like a sudden thunderclap.
The ranks of heads all turned as one, their necks all seemed to break,
        Indeed, a reptile had barked, but this one was a snake!

A lordly Burmese python sat there coiled upon the floor.
        We're talking heavy-duty snake - twenty feet or more!
And in the silence of the room, with tension cut so fine,
        They heard that muffled bark again, soon followed by a whine!

"A miracle!" the lookers roared, "Release her from the stocks!"
        They bore her from the courtroom, where they'd all endured such shocks
And only one was left to muse in that ecstatic fog:
        "I've heard a reptile talk at last! Has someone seen my dog?"



Velcro, the iguana who inspired this poem, died on December 17, 2009. She was just three months shy of her 20th hatchday.

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