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An anonymous 1901 poem* celebrating the initiation ceremony of the Elks (B.P.O.E.). The main feature of early initiation ceremonies apparently required the initiate to ride a goat around the Lodge. This activity was not without peril and has been discontinued, according to official Elks publications. Other initiation activities involved pranks played on new members, including blindfolding (which was discontinued in 1952), noisemakers, and water guns.

The house is full of arnica
And mystery profound;
We do not dare to run about
Or make the slightest sound;
We leave the big piano shut
And do not strike a note;
The doctor's been here seven times
Since father rode the goat.

He joined the lodge a week ago --
Got in at 4 a.m.
And sixteen brethren brought him home
Though he says he brought them.
His wrist WAS sprained and one big rip,
Had rent his Sunday coat --
There must have been a lively time
When father rode the goat.

He's resting on the couch to-day!
And practicing his signs --
The hailing signal, working grip,
And other monkeyshines;
He mutters passwords 'neath his breath,
And other things he'll quote --
They surely had an evening's work
When father rode the goat.

He has a gorgeous uniform
All gold and red and blue;
A bat with plunges and yellow braid,
And golden badges too.
But, somehow, when we mention it,
He wears a look so grim
We wonder if he rode the goat
Or if the goat rode him.

* quoted in "Hello Bill and Other 'Secrets'" by Mike Kelly (http://www.elks.org)
"Anonymous," though prolific, holds no copyright to this poem, which is more than 100 years old in any case.

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