Nibbled to death by ducks

A bit of truth, a bit of whimsy…

habitsOn the Inner Harbour walkway,
two men, dressed neatly, stand stately
beside their “literature” carts.
They glisten with pity as I approach.

Magazines they hold to their chests say:
Awake! (I have been caught dreaming),
Answers to Life’s Questions
(they have spotted me without any),
and, How to Harness your Habits
(they have discerned my unbridled many).

They are disciplined, vigilant, Awake!
to my sky-gazing subterfuge.
Weighed and found wanting, my blasé un-blessed,
I lift lukewarm eyes to their watchful towers,

follow their prescient glare across Government street,
see The Empress Hotel—even as it receives refurbishing—
in final decay. Everywhere they look they see ends, while I,
not-of-the-elect, wish for things to go blithely on, or get better.

Beside them a busker sings Ozark Mountain Daredevils’
“Standing on a Rock”; on the other side, a man
with a unicycle and trained ducks starts his show:
unblinking and baked for Paradise, they take no notice.

By dusk they will be nibbled to death by the ducks,
still they will stand, survey their end, and sinking,
bless the ducks—while I with reprobate soul,
will carry on, obliquely existing.

(This song has always made me happy. And the busker did a fine cover.)


  1. Loved this, Steve – a very enjoyable satire on the earnestness of religion. Great music too – had never heard of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

  2. Thank you Sam. I think the poem may resonate more with those of us who were “caught” within that earnestness. I listened to the Ozark Mountain Daredevils in the 70’s. Had there first two albums. Not sure where they are these days. Thanks again for reading and responding Sam.

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