“The Poet”

A poet lived in a serpeant’s mouth
where he sat and dispensed wisdom.
He was not old but wept frequently.
Flowers withered at his touch and
dogs scratched their heads at his
perplexity.  When times got hard
(begging no one’s forgiveness), the
poet reached into his side from which
he plucked a grain of sand and
rubbed it slick and blue as a
pearl which he cast upon
the ground to see if there were
any swine sniffing about.  Almost
always some pale unsatisfied ones
appeared and disappeared.  But now
all the swine, their dim little eyes
winking like obsidian, had taken
refuge in the luxury of flesh, rouging
their cheeks and knotting their
ties and growing more fastidious
and surly every day while insisting
that the poet was merely trying to
wreck their pleasure for reasons of
his own.  So the swine pouted at
his approach and sighed for his
departure, for his truth was, above
all, depressing, and to be
the cause of a swine’s depression
was just the worst possible sin
imaginable.  In fact, the swine secretly
abhorred the poet (though all were too
refined to confess it and, besides,
indifference best becomes a swine
as everyone knows) and would have
uprooted him with their snouts
and tramped him under hoof
were he not so down in the
mouth of the serpeant.  So they
did the next best thing—they
held no sway with his opinions
but refused to listen to the least
unpleasant syllable, preferring instead
to munch apples delicately in plain
view of a three-way mirror
while nurturing the almost certain
probability that the lapwing cushion
upon which they sat was anything
but the cotton jaws of the serpeant
ready to take them at their final word,
or squeal,
at least.


Edward Francisco’s poem, “The Poet,” was first published in Aura Literary Arts Review. Visit his website edwardfrancisco.com for more information about his work.

1 Comment

  1. I love this one — a different take on the injunction to pipe a tune to dance to. And somehow the reader is implicated by initial distress over the extra syllable in “serpent.” As always with your poems, this one rewards the attention it requires.

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