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There once was a horse who refused to say neigh.
Ask him a ques­tion, he’d answer with moo.
He didn’t give milk, and he loved to eat hay.
But start­ing when he was a young foal, he knew,

the first time he heard a cow speak to a cow,
that neigh­ing and whin­ny­ing just wouldn’t do.
“Let dogs say woof woof and let cats say meow,“
he told him­self then, “but this horse will say moo.“

Did his par­ents get angry? They sure did, and how!
“We both say neigh, why can’t you say neigh, too?
Haven’t you noticed that you’re not a cow?”
“Of course,” he said, not with a neigh but a moo,

“but moo­ing alone does not make me a cow.
Watch me! I still love to gal­lop and trot.
I even enjoy being hitched to a plow!
But do I enjoy say­ing neigh? I do not.“

His par­ents relented. “Fine, then, say moo.
Meow if you want to. Oink, roar or bray.
If it makes you happy, say cock-​a-​doodle-​doo.
Just be a proud horse and you need not say neigh.”

(orig­i­nally pub­lished in Bum­ber­shoot, Issue 5, Sum­mer 2009)

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