The Key


Alistair Cholmondeley Ethelred Smith
Has a mouthful of names
And a pocketful of keys
On a big steel ring.
He has car keys and house keys
And padlock keys and suitcase keys
And mortice keys and Yale keys
And Union keys and Chubb keys.
He has bright keys and dull keys,
Big keys and small keys,
But
None of the keys will fit any locks
That Alistair knows. When anyone knocks
His head and says "I've lost my key"
Alistair brightens and says "I'll see
If any of mine will fit" and goes
Through every key on his ring. He knows
In his heart of hearts that none will fit
But longs for the day when he'll shout "That's it!"
And proudly throw open the unlocked door
And hear the admiring people roar
"There's Alistair Cholmondeley Ethelred Smith
A lad you can trust to do anything with
An unlockable lock."
                                      This poem's stuck.
I've rattled it, kicked it, oiled its hinges,
Kicked it, tackled it with hammers, screwdrivers,
Paperclips, hairpins, chainsaws and cajoling,
Curses, spells and incantations.
Nothing will make it budge half an inch.
There's only one thing if I want to finish it,
Sand it and smooth it, unlock its secrets,
And that's to call on the name of fame,
The man of the hour,
The one with the power,
Shout so his name resounds in the air,
Here it goes: "Hey, Alistair!"


Poetry copyright © Peter Howard.


Illustration copyright © Andrea McKenzie.

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