'Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
though to walk near its crest was so pleasant:
But over its terrible edge there had slipped a duke and many a peasant;
so the people said something would have to be done.
But their projects did not at all tally:
Some said, "Put a fence around the edge of the cliff" Some, "
An ambulance down in the valley."
But the cry for the ambulance carried the day.
For it spread to the neighboring city:
A fence may be useful or not, it is true,
but each heart became brimful of pity,
for those who had slipped o'er that dangerous cliff,
And the dwellers in highway and alley gave dollars or gave cents,
not to put up a fence, But an ambulance down in the valley.
"For the cliff is alright if your careful," they said,
"and if folks even slip or are dropping,
it isn't the slipping that hurts them so much as the shock down below-when they're stopping,"
So day after day when these mishaps occurred,
quick forth would the rescuers sally
to pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,
with their ambulance down in the valley.
Then an old man remarked,
"it's a marvel to me that people give
far more attention to repairing results
than to stopping the cause, when they'd much
better aim at prevention.
Let us stop at its source all this mischief, cried he.
"Come neighbors and friends, let us rally :
If the cliff we will fence,
we might almost dispense with the ambulance down
in the valley." But a sensible few who are practical too,
will not bear with such nonsense much longer.
They believe that prevention is better than cure and their party will soon
be the stronger. Encourage them, then with your purse,
voice and pen and (while other philanthropists dally)
They will scorn all pretense,
and erect a stout fence on the cliff that hangs over the valley
Compiled by Hazel Felleman
Published by Doubleday, 1936