Thursday, September 20, 2007


A pointy-headed potentate
declared His closet out of date,
commissioned robes to be designed
with His divinity in mind.
The tailors ran Him up some stuff,
none of it nearly good enough:
to Him the breathy silks of China
whispered hints of something finer.

On pain of death He set His drapers
weaving bolts of silky vapor
and they did exactly that:
they brought the jaded plutocrat
a suit of air and stroked and fussed
until He was completely trussed
in nothing but His own belief,
wafting a matching handkerchief.

Light of Heaven, thus arrayed,
decreed a royal cavalcade
to show the population just how
comely was its sacred cow.
And so He rode His gilded chair
among the thronging thousands, bare,
while everybody played it cool
and noticed nothing. Enter Fool.

“He’s naked!” sang our barefoot boy;
“We’re history,” mumbled hoi polloi.
Anointed only gazed and said
a single quiet sentence: “Head.”
Someone took it from the street,
put it gently at His feet.
Awed, we watched His raiment flowing,
the silken grandeur of His going.


leslie said...

This story, The Emperors New Clothes, has been on my mind so much of late. Thanks for the great poetry.
And the foxes guard the hen house...

leslie said...

And Dulac is one of my favorite illustrators...