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Master of Imaginative Fantasy Adventure
Creator of Tarzan®  and "Grandfather of American Science Fiction" 
Volume 5862

The Legendary Tarzan
An epic 67-stanza poem recounting the events in the exciting 2016 Tarzan film.
 By John Martin

Clayton listened skeptic'ly as British statesmen bold
Urged him to "See the Congo"  at behest of Leopold;
"It's good for business, good for us, to cater to this king,
“So if you wouldn't mind please go and kiss his royal ring.”

The viscount looked around at them and took a sip of tea,
And said, "So you think I should go; well, gents you flatter me.
“But here's my answer: No, and nada! Absolutely not.
“I've seen the Belgian Congo and this time of year it's hot.”

The sound of cracking nuts broke up the tension in the air,
As George Washington Williams (looking rather debonair),
Said “Fellows, you have tried your best to get him to say yes,
“It's my turn now; let's see if I can make him acquiesce.”

“You are the jungle king," he said; "You lord it o'er the apes.
"You're like a super hero but you don't need any capes.
"You're Tarzan, TARZAN! You're the man we all would like to be.
"Now won't you change your mind and go to Africa with me?"

"It's Clayton," he reminded him, but as he left the place,
Williams sought just one more chance to have a face to face:
"In truth, I don't think Leopold's a very proper king,
“He's made the people slaves and drained their treas'ry of its bling."

Now one thing Clayton couldn't stand were those who tyrannize,
And in his soul the spirit of the righteous did arise.
But first he headed home to tell his wife he had a duty,
Hoping that he'd have the strength to leave behind this beauty.

Jane was happ'ly entertaining children gathered 'round,
When Clayton came in quietly and made a songbird sound.
The kids jumped up excitedly: “It's Tarzan of the Apes!
"Do you climb stairs," they wondered? "No," he quipped, "I take the

Anon the small fry left the room and Jane said, "What's up, John?"
He said, "I'm off to Africa to see what's going on.
'You'll stay here while I go there," the ape-man told his wife.
But Jane just raised her eyebrows and replied, "Not on your life."

Jane reminded Tarzan she knew how to climb a tree.
And so the ape-man said, “Okay, then come along with me.”
Three's a crowd but Williams went along, and not for fun.
'Cause unlike Tarzan, George made sure to bring along a gun.

Unknown to British royalty, the whole scenario
Was just a plot dredged up from things that happened long ago;
It started with a father's loss that quickly morphed to hate,
Enabled by a man whose greed for riches was too great.

So there in Africa one day, a cur named Leon Rom
Had met up with Mbonga who had nursed a grudge too long.
The leopard-pelt-clad cannibal dropped diamonds in Rom's hand,
And promised many more to him if he would bring Tarzan.

“No problem,” glibly Rom replied. Since he was Leopold's aide,
The overture to Tarzan, was a process simply made.
He staged a "welcome" party at the river port of Boma,
But Tarzan jumped ship early, lured by the land's aroma.

Across the gold savanna where the gnu and oryx play,
A pride of lions suddenly were standing in the way.
Tarzan nuzzled up to them 'cause these were cats he knew.
He had a way with animals, from elephants to shrew.

Still clad in his attire from the best of British shops,
Tarzan didn't need a pelted loin to prove his chops.
So when he met the natives 'long with George and his sweet Honey,
Muviro took one look and uttered, "Tarzan! You look funny!"

They tapped a keg of native beer and had a celebration,
And laughed as George had trouble with the spirited libation;
The natives told of Tarzan, the lord of his domain,
"No man ever started out his life with less,"  said Jane.

She said to George, "They're singing, the legend of this man,
"The ghost who haunts the forest, the one they call Tarzan.
"He understands the jungle beasts, in spirit they are one.
"He learned to be as one of them beneath the Congo sun."

It was a night of happiness in more ways than just one,
But soon along came Rom and had the gall to spoil the fun.
Tarzan and his mate were taken captive by the crew,
But Williams, with his Walker Colts, did what he had to do.

Firing hand-held cannons, his mind was set to kill;
While Tarzan, hog-tied, rolled away and tumbled down a hill.
Williams helped to get him loose as Jane was hauled away,
And Tarzan swore that Rom would soon regret this vicious day.

Rom, with Jane as captive, made her board his jungle boat,
“I’ll lure Tarzan,” Rom declared. “You’ll be my stalking goat.
"So if you wouldn't mind I'd like to hear a scream or two.
"But even if you don't I know he's going to come for you."

Jane puckered up her shapely lips but not to blow a kiss;
A blob of spit she fired at Rom, his arrogance to diss.
Just for that Rom locked a native in an iron cage:
"I'll drop Wasimbu in the drink if you incite my rage."

Rom employed a strategy of playing Captain Nice,
And sat Jane down for dinner with some sugar and some spice.
"So what'd your husband do to get Mbonga so undone?"
"You don't know?" said Lady Clayton, "Tarzan slew his only son.

"The son killed Tarzan's ape mom in a senseless sneak attack;
"Tarzan followed jungle law and got Kulonga back.
"Now while you're eating dinner, here is something you can chew:
"That is nothing like my husband's going to do to you."

"Your husband's wild ways disturb me more than I can say,"
Rom sighed, and rang the bell to have his thug take Jane away.
He didn't like the way she left utensils on her plate;
Fastidiously he fingered them, his tidiness to sate.

But 'ere she left, Jane said, "A normal man would go through Hell,
"To save his wife, but be advised, I know my husband well.
"He's jungle bred and jungle wise; he's loaded with elan,
"I warn you Mr. Rom, my John is not a normal man."

Tarzan and a few brave men were off to rescue Jane;
To catch up with the evil Rom they thought to board a train;
"It's simple," Tarzan said to George; "We'll swing down on a vine;
"Hop on my back and hold on tight and you can go on mine."

"I always yearned to catch a train go'n 40 miles an hour,"
Mused Willams, though relieved that he could go on Tarzan's power.
So gliding in they caught the train, not bothering with a fare.
And found a coach of fighting men, but Tarzan didn't care.

One soldier thought to challenge them but nearly wet his pants,
When Tarzan very meaningfully shot a warning glance.
But some believed their numbers could prevail against these hicks,
‘Til Tarzan blasted through them like a chainsaw rips through

The natives Rom had captured when he struck Muviro’s camp,
Were locked on railroad cars where they were getting rider’s cramp,
Tarzan and his men soon had them off the slaver’s chain,
And they became a native crew to operate that train.

Then Williams and the ape-man headed through mangani land,
Making toward the river to complete the job they'd planned.
Along the way they found the apes, with Akut in the lead.
That ape had once been Tarzan's friend but now they disagreed.

The jungle ways required that instead of shaking hands,
They had to bash each other to placate their manly glands.
Like locomotives head to head they smashed into each other,
Until the ape was satisfied that Tarzan was his brother.

A bite from Akut's fangs had been inflicted in the clash,
And Williams, using pincered ants, stitched Tarzan's bleeding gash.
The ape-man grabbed a bug or two and had a bite to eat.
"Tastes like bacon," he remarked, "salty...slightly sweet."

Raised up in the jungle, Tarzan spent his wild days
Making friends with elephants in mystifying ways;
And now as he and Williams were relaxing in the shade,
A few showed up to interact with Tarzan in the glade

Jane, meanwhile, saw her chance and dived from off the boat.
Wasimbu's cage was dunked and trouble was, it wouldn't float.
But Jane helped him break free and swift they made it to the shore,
Past awfully upset hippos which were set to go to war.

Also eager for a war were Akut and his horde,
Who happened to run into Jane (this gal was never bored).
She gave a curtsy and a bow to hold the apes at bay;
Rom and crew caught up with her; Wasimbu got away.

Rom joined Jane in bowing so the apes would think they'd won;
Walking slowly backward, they suppressed the urge to run.
"Promise you won't hurt them," Lady Jane implored of Rom,
But a trigger-happy henchman couldn't muster much aplomb

A bullet from his rifle laid a snarling male ape low,
And Jane at last let out the scream that Rom had wanted so;
As the ape fell, dying, "No!" and "John!" she hollered out;
And nearby, Tarzan's ears picked up his mate's familiar shout.

Throwing caution far aside he leaped from off a bluff,
And as he neared the rushing ground he demo'd "The Right Stuff."
He caught himself a handy vine, momentum did the rest,
Just in time to save Akut from a bullet in the chest.

That big ape worked by instinct, which ruled his primal side,
But now his truce with Tarzan became fully ratified.
They parted friends as Tarzan raced to try to save his mate.
But Mbonga and his cannibals were lying near in wait.

'Neath misty skies by jagged rocks Rom led the captive Jane,
But came a cry from somewhere nigh that made her smile again;
Rom heard it too, it was the call of Tarzan, Jungle Lord.
With panic Rom forced Jane to go to where his boat was moored.

George Williams, in the interim, had grabbed a bigger gun,
From off a fallen rifleman the apes had overrun.
Tarzan, thus far weaponless, an improvision made:
A ram horn wrenched from off a skull would serve him as a blade.

The steamboat pulled away from shore. Did that seal Jane's sad fate?
For Tarzan now was threatened by a company of hate.
Mbonga and his deadly men desired blood to spill.
"Now, feel my pain," Mbonga roared, and rushed in for the kill.

But Tarzan's motive was not simply saving his own life,
He had to fight and win and live to liberate his wife.
And midst the furious battle he caught visions of his Jane,
The impetus that spurred him on, his vict'ry to attain.

Mbonga was a muscled man; he'd earned his spot as chief;
But Tarzan, though with injured arm, was strong beyond belief.
The ape-man got him with a right that locked around his neck,
And with the makeshift knife he put his bitter foe in check.

"I hold your chief's life in my hands," he cautioned everyone;
"Finish it," Mbonga cried, "just like you killed my son."
"Your son," said Tarzan, "slew the gentle beast who gave me joy."
"He did not know," Mbonga spat, "for he was just a boy."

"Where was your honor," cried the chief, "to kill a man so young?"
The ape-man thought, then spoke the truth: "I had none. I had none."
George Williams was a fiery man; he'd fought in wars, and won.
But now as he surveyed this scene he tossed aside his gun.

"Rom is not your friend," said Tarzan, "Diamonds rule his brain.
"He'll come with soldiers, wiping out your people and your name."
"You may think that's impossible," George Williams told the chief,
"But in my time I've seen too many people brought to grief."

And from behind the rocks and trees and through the swirling mist,
The great apes, led by Akut, came with growls that meant "Desist."
The natives dropped their spears and backed away in sage retreat;
Mbonga raised his arms in peace, an ending bittersweet.

Then Tarzan belted out a yell that meant so many things,
As downstream, Jane could hear it and it gave her spirit wings;
Rom heard it too but he believed he'd soon be safe again
For just ahead in Boma were a thousand fighting men.

Tarzan and George Williams on a hill above the port,
Saw warships on the river bringing armies of support.
"With all those men," asked Williams, "will this be where it all ends?
"Hey, where ya goin?" Tarzan answered him: "To get some friends."

The ape-man summoned lions fierce, who chased the wildebeest,
A moving sea of hooves and claws that swept in from the east,
Rom, quite unaware as yet, smirked to a hopeful Jane:
"It doesn't matter. He's too late." Then, came the hurricane:

Wildebeest blew through the camp and tents were ripped in twain;
Men were scattered, broken, crushed, and maimed and stomped and slain;
Lions struck and sank their fangs in those on whom they dived,
And then Wasimbu and the natives on the train arrived.

Rom, in desperation, tried to drag his captive fair,
Down to the docks but she escaped, then glided through the air
By clinging to a cable, suspended from a crane,
As Tarzan, on a wildebeest, came riding toward his Jane.

He grabbed another vine of steel from yet another crane
And swung to rescue Tarzan's mate from off the dangling chain.
He left her safe with Williams to pursue the fleeing Rom,
Who'd made it to the steamboat for his own "dars es salaam."

But Tarzan would not suffer Rom to have a place of peace;
He raced toward the water though the volleys did not cease.
Guns from warships tore apart the timbers of the pier,
But Tarzan kept his focus and let nothing interfere.

He dove into the river which was like a sea of mud,
And struck out for Rom's watercraft, steaming on the flood.
Rom signaled to the warships and the leader of the fleet,
Now headed for Rom's steamboat, the contract to complete.

The payoff was in diamonds, to fund the mercaneries,
Who came to help turn Congo towns to Congo cemeteries.
But Williams found at dockside a machine gun not in use,
And aiming at the enemy he turned its thunder loose.

That Maxim 1886 rained hot lead on Rom's boat;
Bullet holes let water in; the deck became a moat;
The crew, except for Rom, abandoned ship in panic mode,
Hungry crocodiles thought they'd found the mother lode.

Tarzan climbed aboard the boat and added his kayo,
Adjusting valves and switches that would make the steamboat blow;
Rom saw what he was doing and with deadly sacred beads,
Lassoed Tarzan 'round the throat, compounding his misdeeds.

Though Tarzan struggled in the coil of Rom's obscene garrote
The Belgian realized all his plans had likely gone for naught.
For having seen Rom's damaged scow was sinking rather fast,
The leader of the fleet commanded to his men, "Avast!"

Rom saw the mercenary ships begin to sail away,
Even as his treasure chest was sliding toward the bay,
"You portly coward, come and get your diamonds," Rom implored,
But fate was the decider as the loot slipped overboard.

Tarzan, nearly out of breath, mashed Rom between each leg,
And put the pressure on to make the scurvy villain beg,
Then flexing muscles in his neck he popped the beads away,
And then let Rom slide down to join the saurian buffet.

Watching from a Boma dock, Jane saw the boat explode,
But where was Tarzan? Was this day his final episode?
The mercenary fleet was gone, the river flowed in peace,
She bowed her head and closed her eyes; her tears would ne'er surcease.

But wait! She sense a presence near; a touch upon her head,
She turned and fell into the arms of him whom she thought dead.
Yes, Tarzan had prevailed and rescued her and Congo slaves,
Who nearby cheered the victory in patriotic waves.

Tarzan and his mate walked hand in hand back into town,
Where George could not but smile at her jungle-tattered gown,
"Nice outfit, Jane," he said, and then to Tarzan, "Hug for me?"
"If you insist," the ape-man grinned. "We share this victory."

Williams had the evidence to lambaste Leopold,
And to the king and to the world the loathsome story told;
Leopold was guilty, like the men who did his will,
Storming through the Congo land to rape, enslave and kill.

Tarzan and his loving wife had other things to do,
And at the proper time a newborn son made his debut;
For Jane and Tarzan on that day a family life began,
As natives sang the story of this legendary man:

"They're singing of the legend, the legend of this man,
"The ghost who haunts the forest, the one they call Tarzan.
"He understands the jungle beasts; in spirit they are one;
"His saga has not ended yet; it's only just begun."


Visit the Companion Page:
The Legend of the Beasts of Tarzan
 By John Martin

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