The Scarecrow In Exile

The first leg of our troika was removed easily enough;

Courage is a mercurial thing, waxing and waning

As frequently as the tides–or, perhaps more accurately,

It is like the doomed cell hosting a virus,

Left a barren husk of its former self once the germ

Has gone about its business and moved on.

In any case, he has happily cast off the burden of leadership

So often and unwisely fixed upon our martial heroes,

Content to appear at parades and other events of state,

Answering the roar of the mob in an almost authentic manner

(Though just barely perceptibly less so each year),

Living testament to the notion

That it is easier to be lionized than to live as the lion.

 

I had convinced myself that a two-headed regime

Would be perfectly workable,

That I could be the yin to the yang

Of my erstwhile alloy colleague (the intoxicant of power

So dulling my senses that I could believe such nonsense),

The contemplative man of thought acting as a counterweight

To the fiery man of action, the man of the blade.

I had somehow presupposed (such was the vastness

Of my delusion) that my old brother-in-arms would defer

To the appeal of painstaking analysis and meticulous planning;

It was if I had forgotten that, provided with the genie-like largesse

Of the acquisition of anything he desired, he’d asked for a heart,

As if there wasn’t enough sturm und drang taking place

In that miniature steam boiler of a chest!

While I had buried myself in charts and task-force reports,

He had enmeshed himself in consolidating power.

When his yeomen, huge-hatted and well-armed

Came to my suite of offices to place me under arrest,

I was, at my core, not particularly surprised.

 

To parrot the line of so many of those who have shared a fate

Much worse than my own, I am well treated by my caretakers-cum-captors;

My living quarters are comfortable enough,

And I can read, write, and research at my leisure,

Provided I don’t attempt to transmit any of it

To the outside world.  Beyond the boundaries of this small compound,

I am a non-person; neither my name nor image

Has appeared in the pages of the Daily Ozmapolitan for several years,

And it is whispered (with the full knowledge and abetment

Of the current elite) that I am, in fact, gravely ill if not dead.

I could, I suppose, rage against my confinement,

Shout my grievances and pronouncements against autocracy

To the heavens, but my cottage and the outbuildings

Lie in a thickly forested place, and it has not escaped my notice

That all of these structures are built entirely from wood.

No matter, then; I am the victim first and last of my own foolishness,

My own inability to resist the nectar of power, the ambrosia of command.

I, of all people, believing the road could run both ways!

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2 thoughts on “The Scarecrow In Exile

  1. You ask your reader to enter a strangely familiar territory, here: the arena of brothers-in-arms, the cold clarity of the board-room, a dystopian Oz for certain. Just when I feared for our lost man, our confined hero, I was heartened to hear of his pleasant circumstance: the thickly forested place, the wooden cottage, a refuge. And your final lines make us realize how real the whole fairy tale always is.

  2. I am amazed!

    “It was if I had forgotten that, provided with the genie-like largesse
    Of the acquisition of anything he desired, he’d asked for a heart,
    As if there wasn’t enough sturm und drang taking place
    In that miniature steam boiler of a chest!”

    How heartless the actions of the newly hearted, but it wasn’t made of flesh and blood, was it? And, the “I” character was the lion? As in the king of the jungle, who in OZ wants courage?

    “It is like the doomed cell hosting a virus,
    Left a barren husk of its former self once the germ
    Has gone about its business and moved on.”

    It seems like the museum case of wood display is a liveable solution, but not if you cannot click your heals and return home. This allegory is frightening. I hope it is a history and not a future. It has echoes of “Solvent Green” . . .

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