Debra and Phoebe were zeebras and zebras;
the black stripes were Phoebe’s,
the white stripes were Debra’s.
They had lots of friends who looked just the same way,
but they argued all night and they argued all day
whether zebras, with white stripes on satin black skin
and the zeebras, black bands on white hides, were all kin.
They couldn’t agree, though they argued much more,
so they looked for a Quagga to settle their score;
(for a Quagga was zebra at front, horse behind,
and they wanted to give it a piece of their mind.)
But on reaching the Cape it was many years gone,
and ‘twas only in pictures the beast lingered on.
The colour blind lion sees grass and no horses;
when zebras run fast, on all manner of courses,
lines coming and going and clashing quite madly,
that lions make sense of exceedingly badly;
so African horses escape from the pride,
when a nag that was plain would be chased ‘till it died.
An American said, that the zeebra’s a horse,
and the Englishman with him replied, “Yes of course,
but a zeebra’s a zebra, as Englishmen know;
and wherever there’s one, then the other will go.”
The Yank snorted “Webster!”, the Brit “Dr Johnson!”,
then neither would talk more than Gloria Swanson.
So Phoebe the Zeebra and Debra her friend
will be black-and-white somethings, from now till the end.