Happy Birthday Mr. Graves!
This summer day, the 24th of July, would have been your 117th birthday.
To celebrate it, here is one of your more caustic offerings:
The Blue Fly
Five summer days, five summer nights,
The ignorant, loutish, giddy blue-fly
Hung without motion on the cling peach
Humming occasionally ‘O my love, my fair one!’
As in the canticles.
Magnified one thousand times, the insect
Looks farcically human; laugh if you will!
Bald head, stage fairy wings, blear eyes,
A caved-in chest, hairy black mandibles,
Long spindly thighs.
The crime was detected on the sixth day.
What then could be said or done? By anyone?
It would have been vindictive, mean, and what-not,
To swat that fly for being a blue-fly,
For debauch of a peach.
Is it fair either, to bring a microscope
To bear on the case, even in search of truth?
Nature, doubtless, has some compelling cause
To glut the carriers of her epidemics –
Nor did the peach complain.
And from the Devil….
They say it took God seven relentless eons
To proudly sanctify his own creation,
And yet another slow -moving two milennia
Before King Solomon found his inspiration
In the Lily.
Since that scene enacted in the garden, I have noticed
Women will fall predictably in love with blue-flies
Whose odious limbs, bald pates and other defects,
Through sly distraction of our fervid chanting prove
No serious detriment.
My ‘crime’ as you uncharitably put it,
I committed at Her public acquiescence.
She should, I swear have done the shameful deed
With any fly of any other colour.
And would again.
Why vent on poor Beelzebub your peevish venom?
Uncounted women prefer cads to poets –
Nature’s compelling cause, to come in season,
Subsumes itself beneath the whims of creatures
Who fain would invite decay.