In Which I Start to Sing Spring

by Bill Chameides | March 21st, 2014
posted by Erica Rowell (Editor)

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mute swan
Some scientists think mute swans, an invasive species, should be dealt with. In honor of the arrival of springtime, I take a page out of Tom Lehrer’s songbook to playfully explore the possibilities. (Flickr/Ralph Daily)

“Spring is here, a-suh-puh-ring is here,” to quote a favorite song. And with apologies to its composer the season and some of its trappings are the subject of today’s post.

It has seemed like an eternity, waiting for this moment to arise, but finally spring like an ocean of violets in bloom has sprung and in honor of its much-anticipated arrival this year, I am presenting a mash-up of the recently dashed plan by New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation to eradicate the invasive (but beloved) mute swan and a Tom Lehrer song.

Poisoning Mute Swans in New York

Spring is here, a-suh-puh-ring is here.
Life is skittles and life is beer.
I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring.
I do, don’t you? ‘Course you do.
But there’s one thing that makes spring a drag for me,
The sight of mute swans invading habitat for me.

And so, to get the world back in tune
On a spring afternoon,
We go shoot or gas mute swans in New York.
Ev’ry Sunday you’ll see
My sweetheart and me,
As we clip wings of mute swans in New York.

When they see us coming, the birdies all try an’ hide,
But we just oil their eggs with marmalade and some cynanide.
The sun’s shining bright,
The jets fly all right,
When we poison the mute swans in New York.

We’ve gained fame and fortune,
And relieved so much caution
At the New York airports
With our games.
As for those in society
Who feed the birds quietly
Bits of bread with sobriety
All we can say is shame, shame.
Because it’s totally, totally wrong
To make nice, nice to a mute swan.

So if Sunday you’re free,
Why don’t you come with me,
And we’ll poison mute swans in New York.
And maybe we’ll do
In a tourist or two
and anyone helping mute swans in New York.

We’ll murder them all amid laughter and merriment.
Except for the few we take home to experiment.
My pulse will be quickenin’
With each drop of strychnine
We feed to a mute swan.
It just takes a soupcon!
To poison mute swans in New York.

So there it is, my tribute to spring and Tom Lehrer. If you’re in the mood to give it a go yourself (or write your own parody), here’s the karaoke music.

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