Image and Likeness

Maybe Pope Leo the Great,
after meeting Attila the Hun,
wiped his brow and wished he could
just hang it up. That was years ago –
now such meetings are rare for me.

On the whole I am a power for good.
My roaring and clawing, a front
to match my unruly mane. I promulgate
with chalk on blackboards and notes
on Post-its – ‘Reflective tone’ and ‘I hope
there’s more of this’. People whisper
as I walk by – no one connects the dots.

I am a monarch among men.
No Aslan, no Christ-figure,
allegorical. No. At best
an apostle, a cowardly lion
who runs from the soldiers and speaks
Doubter’s words – ‘Is it you?
Can it really be you?’

I think and act bigger than others
would normally dare. The domain
I claim? The hottest weeks of summer.
I gild my days with sun’s gold, I secure
a ruby in my homemade foil crown.

I may have these things going for me –
egotism, greed for flattery,
boastfulness and bombast,
pomposity, snobbish superiority,
intolerant disdain of underlings.

No king am I, and no kingdom
is mine. Maybe if Tolstoy were my
sign in the sky I could roar
just for laughs, leave war behind, find
a peaceful palace of straw and wood.

Published in: on September 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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