Roly Poly by Jim Davies

Roly Poly
Jim Davies

There was a little baby bear
named Roly Poly Sprout.
She loved to roll down grassy slopes,
which made her mother shout.

On one bright day the little cub
shocked mama with her sass,
when she went to the mayor’s house
and rolled upon his grass!

“You’re such a silly little bear,”
old mama Sprout would scoff.
“Please stand up on your feet, my girl,
and kindly knock it off!

“You never do a useful thing,
my Roly Poly Sprout!
Why don’t you take a walk with me
and help me fish for trout?”

But Roly Poly loved to roll
and walking cramped her style.
She’d walk a bit, then in a fit, 
start rolling for a while.

One day her father got so sick
He couldn’t leave his bed.
Her mother made him chicken soup
and stroked his furry head.

And Roly Poly said “I hear 
the berries on the hill
can make a bear as good as new 
when one has taken ill.”

“That may be true,” her mother said
“But also maybe not.
and on that hill the deer are big
and bears get hurt a lot.

“Remember, ’bout a year ago,
your uncle Grizzly Shoals?
He climbed that mountain but came back
with two big antler holes!”

“But I thought we bears ate the deer!”
the little bear cub said.
“We do but these are bigger deer.
Their horns could crush your head!”

The days went by and Roly cried,
and every single day
she sat by her dear father as
she watched him waste away.

Eventually he got so sick
her mother had to climb.
“Please tell your dad I love him if 
I don’t return in time.”

She kissed her girl and started west
and climbed the mountain there.
She tried to think of happy thoughts
to hide that she was scared.

The mama fought and put her claws
on every deer she’d see.
And in a clearing at the top
saw berries in a tree.

A spirit deer that stood on guard
kept berries safe from theft.
The mama saw and got so spooked
she almost turned and left.

But bravely Mama took some ber-
ries safely in her jaws,
and started down the mountainside
so softly on her paws.

The spirit deer, he heard the sound
and chased her down the hill.
And mama in her terror let
some precious berries spill. 

She got back with the dawning sun
and crawled into the house.
She gave what berries she had left 
to her sweet beary spouse,

and with a mighty heave he gulped
but they weren’t quite enough.
And Roly Poly saw her dad
was looking kind of rough

and Mama had a nasty scratch
that went straight down her back
which she endured as she ran from 
the guardian’s fierce attack.

“Please, I’ll go and get the rest,”
the bear cub bravely said.
But mom replied with “you’re too small,
you’ll only end up dead.”

But Roly’s mother fell asleep 
beside her weakened man.
And Roly Poly snuck outside
despite her mother’s ban.

The little bear was far too small
to fight off all the deer
so Roly Poly hid away
so she would disappear.

She climbed up high and to the west
where bears do not dare go.
She climbed a cliff but was not seen
by buck or stag or doe.

She came upon the clearing where
The spirit watched and stood,
his massive antlers ten feet high
to guard his precious wood.

She waited ‘til the darkness came
to sneak right past the guard.
Her thick, black coat of beary fur
made seeing her so hard.

She was but a baby bear;
her mouth was just so small
she only had the room to hold
eight berries. That was all. 

As Roly Poly crept away, 
just breathing through her nose,
she accidently snapped a stick
and Roly Poly froze.

“I won’t be scared, I won’t be scared,”
she told herself and shook.
The spirit deer reared up so high
and off the black bear took!

She tried so hard not to bite down
and let her jaws connect,
because the berries for her dad
would break and then be wrecked.

The deer then leapt up and made chase 
and Roly ran ahead
but absolutely could not fall
behind or she’d be dead.

It seemed to take no time at all–
the deer caught up so fast,
and Roly Poly saw the cliff
she earlier had passed.

He swung his antlers at the cub
to strike her little back
but Roly jumped out off the cliff
avoiding the attack!

The spirit deer ran up so close
that Roly’s end was near.
She curled herself into a ball
and had a good idea’r!

She hit the ground and rolled right down
much faster than the beast,
head than heels, then head than heels
she rolled down to the east.

She rolled the way her mama thought
was silly and atrocious
but that was how the little cub
escaped the big ferocious.

Afraid as Roly Poly was
she tried not to bite down.
And rolly-polled right through the woods
back to her Beary town.

She walked into her family’s den
and dropped eight berries there.
Her Mama fed them to the dad
and stroked his course, black hair.

“Will eight small berries be enough?” 
She asked from mama’s knee.
Her mama hugged her. Said “My love,
we’ll have to wait and see.”

Her father slept on through the night
but Roly stayed awake,
to keep the vigil with her mom
for her dear father’s sake.

The morning came and Mr. Sprout
awakened with a snore,
and to his feet he jumped right up
and roared a mighty roar.

“You saved me, Roly!” father said
and kissed his baby Sprout.
He picked her up in his big arms
and spun her all about.

Her mama cried and said to her
“Oh Roly, I was wrong.
Your rolling saved your father; you’re 
so brave and smart and strong.”

And every bear in Beary town
They cheered the bear cub on
as every day she proudly rolled
the mayor’s hilly lawn.

So when you find yourself caught up
and don’t know what to do,
remember Roly Poly Sprout,
and do what makes you you.

Roly Poly by Jim Davies 1

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