- SPINDLY LITTLE MEN -
A quarter past the twilight hour,
 Too early to retire,
I pondered o'er the Holy Book
 Before a waning fire.

But as I closed the Book of Joel
 And added my 'Amen,'
Outside the window something moved–
 And then it moved again...

...Outlined against the moonlit path
    Danced spindly little men!


It is my sole and lonely task
 To tend my Lord’s estate
And keep the blossoms trimmed and safe
 Within the garden gate.

So though I was deceived
 By night's uncertain light,
I felt compelled to rub my eyes
 And squint into the night...

...I heard those spindly little men
    All laughing with delight.


My fists were clenched in pious rage...
 My eyes embraced the gloom...
I listened as those spindly men
 Discussed the garden's doom.

They scuttled briefly out of sight
 Behind the potter's shed,
But soon returned astride some snails
 And stormed the flower bed...

...I should have stomped their slimy charge
    But watched in awe instead.

They sucked away the baby's breath
 And tore the roots from mums,
They pulled the foxgloves to the ground
 And sliced off all the thumbs.

They sharpened all the rosebush thorns
 To pierce my flesh if squeezed,
And pilfered blooms of marigolds
 To squander as they pleased...

...I realized those spindly men
    Would never be appeased.


I threw the front door open wide
 And rushed into the night,
Determined, if the fiends remained,
 To offer quite a fight.

I snatched a plowshare from my gear,
 Then down the path I flew
To fling it at the mounted snails
 (And furrow quite a few)...

...But deep inside my racing heart
    I knew they were not through.


From somewhere high above my head
 I heard a fearsome drone–
The dreaded beat of locust wings...
 But they were not alone.

Upon their backs were little men,
 Each swinging bags of seeds
From choking vines and dandelions
 And other noxious weeds...

...They headed for the flowerbeds
    To sow unholy deeds.


As the swarm passed overhead,
 The largest swooped at me
And tossed some wormwood in my eyes
 In hopes I would not see.

My fingers grasped a pruning hook
 Which leaned against the shed
And swung it like a sharpened spear
 Until the swarm was shred...

...Unable to resist my wrath,
    The wicked legions fled.

I thus reclaimed the battlefield
 In triumph for my Lord,
And vowed to keep a watchful eye
 For vermin once ignored.

Although I know they shall conspire
 And will attack again,
I shall not be caught unawares–
 I'm wiser now than then...

...And nevermore shall I be fooled
    By spindly little men.