Jan Sand

(February 2 1926 / USA)

Afloat


Cold, I am, and bloody tired
To shovel shit and hay and fruit
That these seasick beasts may be inspired
To live and multiply, to graze and root
In the world when dried.
Many came. Many died.

It was Shem who lost the unicorns.
They were so shy. They lived exclusively on grapes.
He is imperious, like most first borns.
And he must have his wines. And then there were the apes.
Those neanderthals - we thought of them as beasts;
They were not circumcised. They made good leopard feasts.

The dragons simply were too huge.
Their weight had caused the boat to list.
And with that wind and this deluge
We tossed them overboard. They won’t be missed.
Japheth did in the flying pigs. They were treyf.
Noah’s screams were loud enough to make me deaf.

The dinosaurs bent the bars on their cages.
They ate a lot, and how they stank!
Growling, roaring, they’d bite each other in their rages.
They were too much trouble, to be frank.
Rattling their chains, breaking leg irons,
We gave up and fed them to the lions.

And there were those frightful things from outer space.
They almost seemed intelligent, they spoke,
But not Aramaic, just gabble. Their dispatch was no disgrace.
And, also, we lost the elves, fairies, gnomes - all little folk.
I just barely saved the dodo, and the passenger pigeon.
We all prayed, but there are limits to religion.

Finally, that’s the way it goes. The work is lighter.
The rain drums on. The wives are bored to tears.
Noah keeps us in line. Discipline is tighter.
He sings funny songs, quiets down our fears,
Assures us all it will be over soon.
I miss the Sun and yearn to see the Moon.

Submitted: Saturday, May 18, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, September 11, 2013

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