“Upside-Down” by Alexander Kushner is a poignant exploration of a character who bears a curious nickname due to his unconventional behavior. In this lyrical poem, Kushner delves into the life of Upside-Down, a figure perceived as eccentric by society. The verses challenge the notion of whether Upside-Down is truly a “dunder-head” or a person in need of sympathy rather than ridicule.
The Poem Upside Down
Once there lived an Upside-Down
Who was the talk of all the town.
If he was told to turn to right
He turned to left out of spite.
If he went sailing in a boat
No one could make him understand
Why he seem to be afloat
And what had happened to the land.
He read his letters backside-fore,
And wrote his letters backside-fore.
So if a “ton” was to be read
He read it “not,” the dunder-head!
All his life he was afraid
To cross a bridge. He’d always wade
(Unless the water was too deep
Or the embankment was too steep.)
He went into a restaurant;
The waiter said, “What do you want?”
He said, “I’d like a pair of socks
With clocks on them, and in a box.”
The circus came to town one day;
Of course he went without delay.
And everyone said Upside-Down
Was funnier than the circus clown.
Just yesterday the postman brought
A letter to him from his aunt:
“Shall I read it? P’raps I ought,
P’raps I will, p’raps I can’t.”