The Friction of Knees is a terrible thing,
The worst of the ailments that walking can bring
More crippling than chilblains, or any disease
Is the deadly affliction of Friction of Knees.
The Friction of Knees is betwixt and between
And causes the victim to lurch and lean
While working or playing, or taking your ease
Your balance is threatened by Friction of Knees.
It strikes irrespective of colour or creed
With rhythmic persistence and regular speed
And every language, from Greek to Chinese
Has explicit descriptions of Friction of Knees
Historical precedents are to be found
Whenever dictators were marching around –
Consider the Caesars, or bold Achilles –
The cause of their downfall was Friction of Knees!
The first man to fly was about to take wing
In a cardboard contraption of feathers and string
His craft was intact as he mounted the breeze,
But was brought down to earth by the Friction of Knees.
Great minds were employed to discover the cure,
In clinics and workshops from Minsk to Mysore
For all their proposals and philosophies,
There is still no answer to Friction of Knees.
You may use embrocations, or potions and creams
Or encumber your legs with devices and schemes
You may waddle bow-legged, or hop if you please
But you’ll never escape from – the Friction of Knees!
Taken from ‘This Is Where We Came In’
(1992), pages 52.