What an odd and foolish thing
To deify a man.
Larger than life? Larger than death?
Nay, say I, just words on a page,
Players on a shifting stage
Ad-libbing the wit of their forefathers
In a scene devised so long ago.
How we cheer as the curtain falls
And raise our toasts to Arthur's wondrous deeds,
And with his death we're on our knees with
"God save the king!"
But with tomorrow's nine to five,
Depart forever from Camelot
Speak instead of hoopster heroes
"God save Michael Jordan!"
The celestial tractor never ceases
To carve its swath of destiny
Razing all that once was dear,
To clear a path for what must be.
And who's the man there in the cab
Turning knobs and pulling levers?
Who claims to drive this hulking beast
And bend it to his will?
Strange to tell, when he turns the wheel
Right the tractor ambles left,
And when he moves it left
It shuffles to the right;
When he pulls the levered brake,
It comes off in his hands
And the machines snorts in derision
As forward still it presses.
You there! You are but a fraud!
You wave your baton into the pit
And forth ring mighty resonating chords,
And you, grand wizard, wave them on.
But the players know the score.
So long ago they learned their part
And should you collapse upon the stage
The symphony remains unchanged.
The driver is a charlatan,
A surfer striding on the waves,
How silly to suggest this man
Has to his will subdued the tides!
Even artists must obey
The laws of conservation
For no art issues from a void
But must be won from by trial.
Genius is an uncouth word,
For genius implies that talent is free,
But Mozart learned his trade at six;
Nothing comes from nothing!
Strip aside the robes and crowns
From the aging emperor.
Place him on the couch
With a bag of chips and beer.
Make him watch soap operas
And Monday Night Football
And wait a year or two
For him to resign to this new life.
A fat old man with hefty gut
Lounges on the sofa
Where once lay a conqueror
Groping with stubby fingers for the remote control.
Invite the neighbors over
For this most amazing spectacle.
Here lies Julius Caesar with Bud held high in hand.
George Chadderdon © 1992