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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Master of Humbug






For most of my life, my favorite movie in all of the world was "The Wizard of Oz".

I have been in the stage version four times, playing the Lion twice, the Scarecrow once, and the Wizard once. You don't ever want to sit and watch the movie with me, because I do all the voices, for all the characters, and speak almost all the lines verbatim.

I have seen the movie at least once a year for over forty years. Can't get enough.

Of course, I have read all of the Oz books, read them to my kids, and done some illustrations based on them, but since I am a poet as well, I just had to do some poems about them.

This is the fifth in the series, called "Under the Gray Rainbow" and this one is based on the Wizard, yet all of the poems take a much darker tone than the story L. Frank Baum intended. I see them as psychological profiles of the characters true intentions and feelings, you may judge for yourself.

MASTER OF HUMBUG

There they go again,
Fearsome echoes of his daily maneuvers
Their resonance
Amplified by the stony chambers
Carrying him to heights
He never imagined
When empty windows held no terror.

He was born to travel
So currently he was dead, ensconced
Getting his rumors from the mice that inhabit his walls.

Cheering crowds, happy faces, bells and lights
Are no substitute
For books that he cannot read in a language long dead.
The semasiologicals are important,
For he is mighty within those pages.
Nineteenth century science
Is magic in a fifteenth century world.
Boiling smoke and purple plumed hats
Are the burning bush of ignorant masses.

Let them all dance
Gibbering in cheerful abandon,
For he knows the end is here
And they have learned nothing.
He copes with his monstrous shame
By not coping at all
Hiding away,
Head in the sand
At the top of the world.
Weaving refined prayers
To hide his secret shame
In glassine jars.