By Joseph Malins, @1895

‘Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke, and full many a peasant;
So the people said something would have to be done,
But their projects did not all tally.
Some said, “Put a fence around the edge of the cliff;”
Some, “An ambulance down in the valley.”

But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,
For it spread through the neighboring city,
A fence may be useful or not, it is true,


But each heart became brimful of pity
For those who slipped over that dangerous cliff;
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave pounds or gave pence, not to put up a fence,
But an ambulance down in the valley.

Then an old sage remarked, “It’s a marvel to me
That people give far more attention
To repairing the results than to stopping the cause,
When they’d much better aim at prevention.


Let us stop at its source all this mischief,” cried he.
“Come, neighbors and friends let us rally:
If the cliff we will fence we might almost dispense
With the ambulance down in the valley.”

Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,
For the voice of true wisdom is calling:
“To rescue the fallen is good, but ‘tis best
To prevent other people from falling.”
Better close up the source of temptation and crime
Than to deliver from dungeon or galley;
Better put a strong fence ‘round the top of the cliff,
Than an ambulance down in then valley!

Source: Iowa Health Bulletin, 1912

Thank you, Sam Young, for giving LDS people like me a voice and a place to anonymously tell our stories at, so that maybe, maybe finally, we might be believed. We need fences, and if we can not even have good fences, we need guards at those fences.


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