Carolina

Emperor Ping Cho of China,
Older than the Pharaoh Tut,
Wiser than the Dalai Lama,
Rich as Midas (that's a lot),
From his Lotus Throne at Gobi,
In the century of Ra,
Called his counselors into council,
Every chieftain, prince, and shah.
Ping Cho made a grand announcement,
And the wise men kneeling there
Were overjoyed to hear the news that
God had sent Ping Cho an heir.
"My queen this day has borne a daughter.
My firstborn! Therefore, be it known,
One day she will be Empress
And occupy the Lotus Throne.
Now this princess needs a name, sirs,
A name to match her beauty rare,
A name to conjure with and honor,
To charm the most poetic ear,
A name to call on in despair,
A name to whisper everywhere.
Wise men, therefore, go! I charge you!
Seek a name the world may share
For the coming queen of China,
For the fairest of the fair!"
Round the world went the wise men
Searching for the perfect name,
They sailed to Greenland, Iceland, Holland,
New Zealand, Jutland; then they came
To York and Yemen, Yukon, Yalta,
Turkey, Burma, Greece, Iran,
Uruguay and Upper Volta,
Nantes and France and Kurdistan.
Then, as Emperor Ping Cho commanded,
When one year had gone around,
All assembled at the castle
To report what they had found.
But, alas, the only answer
Of the wise men was the same.
Every nation, they reported,
Had a different favorite name.
Germany's best name was Freda.
The USA liked Mary Lou.
The favorite name in Nantes was Nancy.
The favorite in Tibet was Poo.
Nordic nations favored Irma.
Several Slavic states chose Anne.
Burmalyn was best in Burma,
Sue the favorite in Sudan.
No nation knew the most poetic.
No king or wise man could agree.
There was no perfect name for Ping Cho's
Baby girl.....apparently.
Ping Cho's heart was full of gloom,
Disarray, and hassle.
He waved his hand to clear the room
And closed the court and castle.
Ping Cho put on his hiking boots -
No one was left to talk with -
And headed up the mountain -
Alone - no one to walk with.
The sun was out; the flowers were dancing;
A gentle zephyr stroked his cheek,
And as the emperor hiked along,
The emperor began to speak.
"O, mountain breezes, wafting sweetly
Around the world o'er land and sea,
Do you know the name that's sweetest?
If so, whisper it to me."
Out of Europe, out of Asia,
The four winds of the world conferred,
And through the Khyber over Gobi
Came the single, magic word,
And the sacred winds of China
Whispered gently: CAROLINA.
Ping Cho hiked on up the mountain
Through a wooded glade, where he
Spied a bird of many colors
In a yellow Yucca tree.
"Bird of Paradise," said Ping Cho,
"Let me ask you just one thing.
What's the sweetest word in Birdland
Where the sweetest singers sing?"
The bird unfurled his rainbow plumage
And flew where all the songbirds live
In Birdland, and the songbirds voted
On the answer they should give.
Then from Birdland, home of music,
Where Alph the sacred river ran,
To the man who talked to birds
They sent two birds who talk to man.
Down from Paradise they floated,
A myna bird, a talking parrot,
To the emperor out hiking,
With the magic name...to share it.
"My daughter's name!" cried poor Ping Cho.
"Tell me! Tell me, if you know."
Said the parrot and the myna,
"The magic name is: CAROLINA."
Ping Cho hurried to the castle,
Wrote the name down on a pad,
Gave it to the royal poet
And the royal priest, and said,
"The four winds and the birds
Have spoken. There's the name
They gave to me.
Take it to your wisest councils.
Let me know if you agree."
The poets read the name and marveled.
"Ping Cho," they said, "we all agree.
The finest poet could not design a
Finer name than: CAROLINA."
The priests read o'er the name and prayed,
Then prayed again. "Ping Cho," they said,
"We all agree. We can't divine a
Better name than: CAROLINA."
So Ping Cho named his daughter
As the birds and wind decreed,
And the name spread wide in history
With glory, honor, fame, and speed.
Even the Frankish kings of Europe
Took the Carolingian name,
And two of the United States
In southern climates did the same.
CAROLINA! For a daughter's name
There isn't any better.
Even JFK and Jackie
Only missed it by a letter.
And then one happy day in August
A Minnesota mom named Dinah
(After an Asian Empress)
Named her daughter CAROLINA.

          for Carolina Swain Schuster, 23 August 2007