The Valley Of Dry Bones

Ambrose Bierce 1842 (Meigs County) – 1914 (Chihuahua)



With crow bones all the land is white,
From the gates of morn to the gates of night.
Picked clean, they lie on the cumbered ground,
And the politician's paunch is round;
And he strokes it down and across as he sings:
'I've eaten my fill of the legs and wings,
The neck, the back, the pontifical nose,
Breast, belly and gizzard, for everything goes.
The meat that's dark (and there's none that's white)
Exceeded the need of my appetite,
But I've bravely stuck to the needful work
That a hungry domestic hog would shirk.
I've eaten the fowl that the Fates commend
To reluctant lips of the People's Friend.
Rank unspeakably, bitter as gall,
Is the bird, but I've eaten it, feathers and all.
I'm a dutiful statesman, I am, although
I really don't like a diet of crow.
So I've dined all alone in a furtive way,
But my platter I've cleaned every blessed day.
They say that I bolt; so I do-my bird;
They say that I sulk, but they've widely erred!
O Lord! if my enemies only knew
How I'm full to the throat with the corvic stew
They'd open their ears to hear me profess
The faith compelled by the corvic stress,
(For, alas! necessity knows no law)
In the heavenly caucus-'Caw! Caw! Caw!''

And that ornithanthropical person tried
By flapping his arms on the air to ride;
But I knew by the way that he clacked his bill
He was just the poor, featherless biped, Dave Hill.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 21, 2023

1:21 min read
78

Quick analysis:

Scheme AABBCCDDAAEEFFGGHHIIXXJJKKLL MMNN
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,337
Words 256
Stanzas 2
Stanza Lengths 28, 4

Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. more…

All Ambrose Bierce poems | Ambrose Bierce Books

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