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
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.