Charlie, the Chipmunk, was being chased
around the yard by the Rooster, Chanticleer,
and though he scurried with great haste,
he knew he was no fleet-footed hare.
“My time on earth is nearly done,” he cried,
“if I cannot reach my burrow and hide!”
Reynard, the Fox, appeared then, and said,
“Quick! Leap up onto my pointy nose
and I will save you from that feather-head!”
Charlie dithered briefly…then he chose.
“I have decided to let you help me out,”
he said, climbing Reynard’s snickering snout.
Chanticleer saw Reynard, his fabled foe,
and swiftly abandoned chasing Charlie,
turning about on his taloned toe
and fleeing without attempting to parley.
Charlie cheered and began to gloat,
and away he went, down Reynard’s throat.
They are polishing their beloved idols again
from atop their revered ivory towers;
rubbing the gleaming marble skin
and feeling self-important at all hours.
While they polish each illustrious person
and repeat their prayers in sanctimonious halls,
a cynical crack branches like a creeping curse on
the base of the tower—until it crumbles and falls.
They pray to their idols for whatever cures
might be forthcoming in this catastrophe,
and are shocked when their heroic figures
keep their silence with blank-faced apathy.
To polish icons that crown your culture
when you need to tend to the foundation
is to forego the needful until it totters, full sure,
to collapse across the malcontent nation.
Apollo’s light never accomplished half so much
as the engineering flame stolen by Prometheus,
nor is his academic light so warm to the touch
as the Titan’s flame bestowed to free us.
But who wouldn’t rather be Apollo spreading light
instead of a Titan chained to a mountain slab
as a menial vulture takes bite after bite
while complacent gods lounge and gab?
The oily, stinking tool shop of a tinker
accomplishes more than any ivory tower
because it is in the former that a doer and thinker
may forge the turbines to harness true power—
including power from the stagnating breath
of idle gods too preoccupied to help us
as they listen only to themselves, utterly deaf
within the bright—yet cold—halls of Olympus.
There was a King who loved the thrills
of hunting beasts with his black powder gun,
and though he boasted sole pride in his kills,
he employed many hounds, also, for his fun.
The King had a Houndmaster who served him true,
staying with the hunting dogs all day and night;
he treated the dogs like his own children, too,
teaching them to sit, run, stay, and never bite.
Yet, the King had his Houndmaster beaten
for each dog that failed in the hunt,
and if no game was gained, nought was eaten
by man or dog—by leader, breeder or runt.
In time the King tired of his old Houndmaster
and gave him one last chance to prove his worth
or else the Houndmaster would not last ere
the next day’s dawn bled upon the earth.
It was evening when the King decreed
that a Hart would be his to stay his wrath
or else the King would thereafter feed
the Houndmaster to his canine riffraff.
The Houndmaster looked at the collared ring
that bound his beloved dogs in hand,
and he remarked, “Power is a fleeting thing,”
before loosing the dogs to scour the land.
The hounds did well, chasing a flighty Hart
toward the King as he took careful aim,
and the biting bullet found the most vital part
to stop the soul and down the game.
But as the King dismounted to peer
at the crowned beast felled by his pride
the hounds circled round and round, drawing near
to take their share from within the hide.
“Get back, you beasts!” the King thus raged,
striking them with his gun’s wooden stock,
“or I shall have you whipped, starved, and caged!”
But out here the pack did not fear such talk.
The hungry hounds growled and paced
round the King whom they did not fear,
eyeing him as they did the Hart they raced
and licking their teeth with a strange leer.
The King realized his deadly isolation
and shouted for help from his old Houndmaster,
but he was trapped, despite his royal station;
however fast was he, the hounds were faster.
He attempted to remount his panicking horse
and flee the bloodthirst he had unwittingly whetted,
but the hounds beset him without remorse:
each meal denied was now a meal regretted.
Before dusk the hounds returned to the castle
to be leashed once again and brought inside,
so the Houndmaster took them, without hassle,
to the kennel, their stomachs satisfied.
She had been
kissed by coral,
scarred cheek skin,
her crown floral.
She carved the waters
on her board
like Triton’s daughters,
her heart unmoored.
Dudes paddled hard
to catch her wave
because she starred
as their wet-dream slave.
But she was flighty
and avoided such larks
which just might be
a frenzy of sharks.
Her body was found
on a peaceful day,
the ocean’s sound
a lullaby lay.
The water was flat
like a mirror so clean
it reflected all that
spread above that scene—
the clouds, the sun,
the seagulls and crows,
each sail and pelican,
the cuckoos and swallows.
But the one thing amiss
in the reflecting sea
was that dead detritus
ruining the facsimile.
When looking skyward
to see her soul in flight
there was not cloud nor bird,
but moon—bone white.
In wispy, silken garments wound
and in fresh flower petals gowned,
she danced within standing stones round,
the goddess of Spring, forehead crowned
in budding seeds from sun-gilt ground.
Yellow wheat billows in the ditches
woven in wilted waves athwart the valley
like the hair of a hundred withered witches
all waiting for the Witching Hour to rally
so they may raise their sodden, sodded heads
beneath the wan moon and its waxen glow
and hex a thousand children in their trembling beds
with many a bad dream and many a woe.
Their wrinkles are cut deep in cheek and brow
to sow sorrows wherever they may grow
not unlike drowning ditches cut by the furrowing plow
in this wet, wicked, Winter tableau.
The Tower of Babylon rose not half so high
as the dung heap they disgorged with every lie—
so tall was each heap that they reached beyond the sky
and became an affront to both God’s nose and eye,
yet God could not destroy them, nor wanted to try,
for they were the pillars of Heaven, by and by.