The Ruling Rod

The scepter of his empire
had become a walking cane,
achy joints burning like fire
when the skies conspired to rain,
and though many lands still feared
the sharp tap of his gold rod,
they sensed, too, that there soon neared
the fall of that ailing god,
yet, meanwhile he did not fear
the whispers behind his back
nor the dagger or the spear
or any plot of attack;
what he feared above all now
was a change in the season,
knowing, with a wincing brow,
agonies worse than treason.

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