Elixir of Life

Winner - 2016 NSW Written Bush Poetry Championship and Binalong Poetry Prize - Humorous Section

Have you noticed the recent proliferation of "expert" health advice that appears to be gleaned from Google? This poem is a tongue-in-cheek tale about questionable health remedies - definitely recommended to be taken with a pinch of salt!

Elixir of Life
© Shelley Hansen 2016

We all have certain friends who think that health care is their game.
They've read it all on Google and believe that they can claim
vast knowledge of all kinds of treatments they insist are true.
You smile – until you realise their guinea pig is YOU!

You might be feeling poorly, so you say your gut is crook –
and suddenly you're deluged with enough to fill a book!
They burst with online remedies they swear are no pretence –
like pre-biotics, pro-biotics, auntie-oxy-dense!

You think they'd be content to treat the ailment you describe –
but NO! It's just the start of an amazing diatribe!
It seems they've been encouraged by your blank and puzzled stare
and launch into a catalogue of cures beyond compare.

They gaze into your eyes until you feel you should respond.
They claim that they can see your ingrown toenails - and beyond!
They tell you that you're suffering diseases rare and strange –
but WAIT! There's hope – if you'll just take the potions they'll arrange.

You might need magic mushrooms or an evil-smelling tea,
or tincture of some mineral to set your spirit free.
Perhaps the application of a balm might ease your piles
if fortified with fungus found on some exotic isles.

A pungent plaster poultice will correct the common cold,
and herbal stockings worn at night will fix internal mould.
Your baldness will be banished if you massage through your hair
some putrid black concoction from a jungle who knows where?

I've learnt some words I can't pronounce, and much less likely spell
and so I thought perhaps I should get into this as well.
It can't be all that difficult in this computer age
to find a cure for everything upon a website page.

I might become quite good! Then I could open up a shop -
New Age Rejuvenation – Health and Wellness - Till You Drop!
But that would need a business case to guarantee my wealth
and demonstrate my expertise in this vast field of health.

And so I quickly Googled "Homestyle Remedies" and found
a comprehensive reference I thought was rather sound.
It dated from antiquity, had stood the strictest test,
and came with the endorsement that the old ways are the best.

It recommended cognac to combat a dizzy spell,
tequila for digestive worms (insomnia as well).
Scotch whisky kills bacteria, and boosts your memory,
and vodka has been known to ward off infertility.

No hint of constipation if you keep yourself on rum,
and schnapps will freshen up the breath – a great relief for some!
Forgetfulness won't cause you grief as long as you drink beer,
and rubbing it externally makes dandruff disappear!

This book was full of wisdom, and I took the whole thing in,
and then I found the most outstanding remedy was gin
to neutralise free radicals or mitigate a cold
or smooth out facial wrinkles to prevent you growing old!

One dose will ditch diphtheria. One bottle will detox.
At night it's efficacious – just like garlic in your socks!
And if bubonic plague should be about, no need to fear –
Just ladle in the gin, and you'll be sure you're in the clear.

It's food for thought. I reckon that I'm onto something BIG –
to think that life's elixir might be found in just one swig!
So now my health rejuvenation clinic plan is dead -
I'll open up a healthy drive-through bottleshop instead!!

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