The Epic Poem [home] [contents] [comments] [discussion] [shop]
       A Verse Narrative by Michael E. Mautner


    He or she who would direct
    has first himself the scene to set...

          The 'pavilion' is a pavilion to
          a country bumpkin only.  The World's Fair
          has nothing to fear from it.  "Gazebo"
          is a better fit for this wood affair,
          this carved canopy that takes four firm
          beams to lift, to spread like butterfly wings
          (so fine!) and through which can still be seen
          the heaven of stars shining, all snugly
          sheltering the people.  A country band plays.
          Youngsters dance, square dances and round,
          but some sneak off to be alone in the grass,
          in bushes, by the railroad tracks.
          Time rushes by.  None can hold it back.

    ...and characters to beget
    like children, labored long
    and pained, and wet...

          Of my women, it may be said:
          "The young do fret, the old regret."
          Ask yourself, as you read on,
          who is most like you?

          One: Lana (the fiancée) --

                He's late.  I hate that.
                An important date,
                he makes it sound like,
                and he's late.  I could get
                to be an old maid
                waiting here for my beau,
                sipping sour lemonade,
                surrounded by bachelors,
                comp'ny officials in dark suits,
                all so punctual:  Mr. Luther
                with gold scissors (see how he cuts
                the red ribbon; what  ceremony!),
                and Mr. Edge, speaking so boldly
                about our future.  He's strutting
                my way.  Isn't he enchanting?
                ("Mrs. Kent?  Pardon me, ma'am, but
                  I feel like dancing!")

          Two: Sarah (the widow, on whom
          the shadow surely falls,
          in gazeboes and dance halls) --

                Clark, if you were here
                like you're supposed to be
                I'd say, "I told you so."
                Can't expect to hold onto
                a girl like Lana Lang
                if you leave her standing.
                I hope it's for something
                important you're delayed.

                Well, will you look at that:
                City slickers square dance
                wors'n Baptists.
                "Play 'em a waltz, Walt,
                 make 'em feel at home!"
                Hm?  Someone cutting in on them
                for the waltz?  Mr. Luther!?
                He's too old for her!
                Not enough in common
                just having the same color hair.
                I better stop this now
                before it gets anywhere.

          She gets up, a mite faint,
          short of breath and her chest sore.
          She chalks it up to...
          that pungent odor in the air.

                Someone burning something, that's all;
                got me a bit congested.
                I'm no invalid yet, and there's work
                to do:  Clark's got a lot invested
                in that girl.  "Pardon me, Lana, but,
                like it or not!, I'm cutting in!"

          Lana defers, and Sarah,
          like a good director,
          takes over.  (And the narrator
          now will do the same) --

    They tell each other their names,
    then round and round they go,
    under the music's spell,
    round and round they go
    like the farmer and the dell.
    He feigns caring well,
    slowing their pace for her. 
    Sweat trickles down her face
    and she feels her limbs swell.
    Later the rumor
    will grow that he dropped her,
    that they went round and round
    until he couldn't recover
    from a dip.  It isn't so.

    Round and round they go,
    but what's that acrid smell?
    Round and round they go
    'til, suddenly, she knows:
    It is her own breath
    and her blood on her lip
    and on his neck.
    One last spin
    and the world grows dim:
    Down and down she goes.

    Down and down she goes,
    round and round she goes --
    that's the truth he'll tell.
    Round and round she spun her gown
    of simple fabric sewn; then
    down and down, without a sound,
    she broke the setting's spell.
    Down and down, like round and round,
    Sarah simply fell.  She fell.  That's all.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46
47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 

NEXT CANTO <font size=-1>NEXT CANTO</font>

Superman The American Way Cap!
The Epic Poem


Powered by