It Is Rumored That The Ox And Lamb Kept Time

If you put the question to, say, one Ben Haramed,

He would, as befits a wily old desert jackal,

Find such notions of faith and fidelity quite amusing–


(Following stars in search of something ephermal, with no fixed exchange rate?

Will these specks of light provide you some shelter

Among throngs of shepherds and sundry fools?

Will your mewling, puking infant provide you succor in that cold city

Where no one has time for you, save the legion of pickpockets,

Or the leering, gyrating, hypnotizing strumpets

Who would pawn your drum for a bright and attraction-getting veil?)


And, indeed, if you happened to catch a certain wise and well-off trio

Ensconced comfortably in their sumptuous, well-appointed lodgings

Several streets away from the temporary and unfashionable residence

Of the object of their pilgrimage

(It is only fit that we pay obeisance, but to actually stay in such a place, well…)

They would certainly forswear any such notions

Of the primacy of the coin and the blade,

But if you caught them in a more comfortable, unguarded moment

You may able to infer that, while they would express themselves more elegantly

Than some rude, unwashed camel-thief of a wilderness bandit,

You could expect them to exchange their coin of the realm for philosophy

No more than you would expect the fold and the kine to keep perfect four-four time.


And yet we believe, knowing full well the descendants of Balthasar and Melchior

Are exempt from our daily bread of bowing and scraping and holding our tongues

To be greeted, all smiles, by the bank manager, the rainmaker, the decision maker,

That our works and our constancy shall be recompensed at a sound rate of return


(How could it be otherwise, for didn’t Our Story Teller herself,

Through stiffness of upper lip and fealty to all things bright and beautiful,

Weather all the bombs and blackouts the Blitz could throw her way,

A beautiful, inspirational cross-Channel Joan of Arc?)


If only we are as steadfast as the chant of the Dies Irae,

As constant as the straightforward beat of a single drum

Which follows the procession down the main thoroughfare

As we make our final homecoming.


8 thoughts on “It Is Rumored That The Ox And Lamb Kept Time

  1. Man, this was great. I assume that you are familiar with Italo Calvino – This reminded me of The Book of Cities, ethereal but familiar. There’s also some Borges in this for me, especially in the italics.

  2. IMHO there is a lot of truth to your poem, enhanced by the allusions and references. Great work! The lines “To exchange their coin of the realm for philosophy than you would expect / The fold and the kine to keep perfect four-four time.” Very well stated. Cheers

  3. Intense, literate with great line breaks/word choices (as usual).

    I’m reading this out of order – unusual for me, as I’ve only read from #1 -112 (on this list) – but your work, today, is the dessert to the (thus far) twenty-five 1SW poems I’ve read today.

    Again, what I said in my opening comments. Love your work, my friend, even if I don’t always swim at your poetic depths. 🙂

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