Friend Ophidian

by John Vance Cheney

John Vance Cheney

Cylindrical thing

Without leg, without wing,

Glazed membrane stuffed with motion,

Give ear to a heretic's notion.

The fact that you crawl

Is no reason at all

For sitfast accusing

And head-pan bruising;

A walk or a glide,

A stride or a slide,

A trip or a slip,

A skate or a skip, —

Any one of the eight, all the same to me,

Sly, india-rubber iniquity!

I can't get rid of an early suspicion

That we harp overhard on the point of position.

I think, moreover, in your shabbiest deed,

You can give no points to Adam's seed.

We all have our lapses, among them as serious

As those at your threshold, twister mysterious.

To travel way back to the start of the world,

When in grasses of Eden your ancestor curled,

Suppose in snakeskin a wretch did deceive

Dear, lily-lovely, much-visible Eve;

In their own skins, to-day, that's just what men do,

Then put the whole blame (and the bludgeon) on you.

Your forefathers, likely, were up to their tricks,

But the fault, after all, was plainly Old Nick's;

And if only your paths are sinlessly slid,

We can well let slide what your grand-daddy did.

Poor animate string with the glittering eye,

At peace on the sunny hillock lie.

As for me and my house, we will never inveigh

'Gainst a ribbon that harmlessly garters our way,

Nor with cudgel from cactus or Calvin hewed,

Fall thwacking its limber longitude.

Forgive us, friend Ophidian;

Bask on in peace meridian.

Last updated September 07, 2017