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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ray E. Heiple, Jr.

I Am Not a Trout!

A poem

In a stream not too near, yet not too far away,

There lived a family of trout, if that’s still OK to say.

For one trout in this family, little Timmy to be precise,

Had a thought that for a time, seemed oh so very nice.

He didn’t try to have it, he didn’t look for it at all,

At first & for the longest time, it made him cry and bawl.

But then came Dr. Leadastray, and when he saw Timmy crying,

He promised him he’d make things right, but Leadastray was lying.

He said the thought that Timmy had, and the feelings that it gave him,

He should no longer try to fight, but accept them for they’d save him.

At first Timmy thought it wasn’t right, how could he let himself go?

But the doctor firmly held his hand, ‘til poor Timmy could not say no.

The thought Timmy had was this: “I’m not a trout but a squirrel.”

Leadastray said it was normal, in fact he could even be a girl!

“You can be whatever you feel, just give in to every desire,”

The doctor pretended to be true, but Leadastray was a liar.

And every day he’d say the same, this fiend was very clever.

Others he’d tricked said it too, and Timmy did start to feel better.

“I understand now,” tricked-Timmy said, “I no longer have a doubt.

My desires make me who I am, and I am not a trout!

He couldn’t wait to tell his folks, that at last he knew how to act.

His feelings said he was a squirrel, which was better than truth or fact.

“But you have fins” his father cried, “like every trout in the world.”

But tricked-Timmy knew how to reply: “I identify with being a squirrel.”

His mother held a looking glass, “Timmy you’re a trout can’t you see?”

With Leadastray’s words Timmy replied: “Accept it or you don’t love me.”

“Don’t ever call me a trout again, or you’ll make me cry and feel sad.

For now I desire to be a squirrel, and if you don’t accept it you’re bad.”

“But you’re a trout” said his Dad, “Won’t you live by what’s real?”

Timmy answered “When you say that, it means you hate how I feel.”

And then his Dad with tears in his eyes, holding the hand of his youth,

Said “My love won’t ever give in to this lie—it is not hate to speak the truth.”

“Timmy the truth is you’re a trout. You breathe through gills and swim.

A squirrel has legs and walks on land, which means you couldn’t be him.”

“Read the things that doctors have wrote, then you’ll know what to think and say,”

Mumbled tricked-Timmy holding out tracts, written by men like Leadastray.

“Timmy these books are filled with lies, they contradict what’s really true,

A fish simply can’t be a squirrel, any more than one and three can be two.”

So Timmy ran off mad and confused, for it wasn’t s’posed to go this way,

His folks would resist but give in, from the tracts & words he would say.

“I do not care what my Dad says, Dr. Leadastray is my true friend,”

For Timmy thought as he left home, “I’ll never come back here again.”

When Dr. Leadastray saw him return, he thought “This one is now mine!”

Then he said as he always did, “Don’t fear—It will all be fine!”

“We always accept your desires here, and you can make them just as you feel,

We’ve discovered the secret to life is: Only you can determine what’s real.”

Timmy feeling loved and accepted cried, “This is too good to be true.”

Then said Leadastray full of fake love: “C’mon Timmy I’ll show you the view.”

“Why does that snail have a fish’s tail? And why does that fish have no fins?

Are those boards nailed to that perch’s scales? And why is that eel stuck with pins?”

“Such hateful words” the bad doctor said, would you judge how others choose to live?”

That snail feels like he’s a fish, and that is not a fish without fins…

Why he’s been a snake since yesterday, and before that he was a hind.

For we are only what we feel inside, and we often will change our minds.

What you said were boards are pigs’ feet, just as that perch desires to be.

And the eel with pins is a spinefish, don’t judge his truth as fantasy!”

Timmy watched every fish that was there—each one said to be what it’s not,

And he could see all their sadness and pain, and it turned his stomach into a knot.

Then they entered a room filled with beds, on which fish thin and pale were lying.

Said the doctor “These identify as cows, so they eat only grass and they’re dying.

We see them as brave heroes” he quipped, “If only we all could live as they do!

For they don’t go by bodies cells or facts, and certainly not by what’s true.

You see Timmy we don’t like God’s creation; we’re angry at how He’s made us.

We will determine just what we are, especially if it’s what He’s forbade us!”

And as Timmy watched in growing alarm, seeing all hurting themselves by a lie.

He saw how they were not happy at all, and many of them even wanted to die.

Then he realized what a fool he had been, although he knew his feelings were real.

For he had learned we must be what we are, no matter how we sometimes feel.

“I see now that feelings can’t change us,” Timmy said to the doctor just then.

“Trouts are trouts, snails are snails, girls are girls; for truth must be what it’s always been.

What God has made is really real, just like the two eyes on my face,

And to pretend to be what we are not, is to live in the saddest place.”

Leadastray in a rage yelled “Hater!” Then he snarled and he cursed and he swore.

Timmy got scared & sought to escape, for he’d not heard words like those before.

He now knew that his parents loved him, just as he was—not as pretend.

For a boy trout he was by birth, and that gave him courage right then.

And he outswam the doctor’s slaves, since they couldn’t catch up to him.

For believing Leadastray’s lies, their warped bodies could hardly swim.

And with tears wet in his eyes, Timmy and his parents hugged each other,

“Mom and Dad you were right all along, I’m a trout—just like my big brother.”

His parents said “We’ve always loved you Timmy, and we never once stopped praying.”

Timmy replied “I’m glad you loved me enough, not to believe all the stuff I was saying.”

That day Timmy learned truth cannot change, not by anything we might think or feel.

For a thing can only be how it’s made, and that’s not for pretend, it’s for real!

For no one can take a rock—and say it’s water & drink a glass,

And fish that identify as cows, will die if they eat only grass.

So Timmy lived on from that day, not by desires no matter how strong,

But only by the truth that is real, for that’s how we know right from wrong!

Still every once in while he would think, “To be a squirrel would surely be nice.

To have four legs and breathe the air? Well wouldn’t that just be a slice!

But now I know I can’t change what is real, and those liars won’t fool me again,

For God gave me this sleek trout’s tail, and what squirrel could match me in a swim?”

And with that, Timmy perfectly timed a twitch of his fins with a powerful thrust of his tail, to this side and then to that. And in the blink of an eye—like only a trout can do—he darted through the water, laughing, and happy as could be, playing with the other troutlets, doing all of the things that trouts do best.

But from a distance Dr. Leadastray scowled and said bad words with hate and lies in his heart. “So he won’t let us trick him into thinking he is a squirrel? Maybe we can fool him into believing he is not a boy trout but a girl trout? Yes! I think that might work better. That’s what we’ll try next. Slaves!” he ordered hatefully, “Begin writing fancy sounding pamphlets and tracts that say you are not a boy or a girl by what is real and true: by having a boy or a girl’s body and cells and organs; but only by how you feel.” “Yes,” he thought wickedly, “that is how we can fool many troutlets and destroy many lives.”

And just as he was thinking these things, an unusually large squirrel reached into the water with both of his front paws and scooped up Dr. Leadastray & he ate him all up, and he was delicious!

The End


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