A. B. Clarke

Dear Emperor

by abclarke

Bring the pomp without the circumstance, and suffer ridicule behind your back.

Bring the circumstance without the pomp, and suffer knives behind your back.

The Withered Crone

by abclarke

The withered crone has seen the world.
Of beauty, pain, and fear.
The withered crone has been the beaut,
Feted, fawned, and cheered.

The withered crone has seen the man,
His snarling, stumbling, fall.
The withered crone has seen the child,
Gangly reaching tall.

The withered crone has seen it all,
And through it all remained.
The withered crone has cried with time,
Yet laughs upon today.

The withered crone is nothing but —
Her mind’s a dangerous knife.
Within her lies a knowledge sharp,
Hard-fought throughout her life.

A Collection of False Statements

by abclarke

Everything is unfair.
Life is unfair.
Nothing is fair.
Life is fair.

Everything is cruel.
Life is cruel.
Nothing is kind.
Life is kind.

Everything is awesome.
Nothing is awesome.

(see A Collection of True Statements)

When Godzilla Came To Town

by abclarke

When Godzilla came to town, the capitalists invited him to their board rooms.
“See how your brand can move cities,” they said.
“See how our savvy can help you expand,” they said.
“Raaaaaaaar!” he said, and crushed them.

When Godzilla came to town, the soldiers invited him to their forts.
“See how you can make us stronger,” they said.
“See how we can make you stronger,” they said.
“Raaaaaaaar!” he said, and crushed them.

When Godzilla came to town, the intellectuals invited him to their coffee houses.
“See how you can drain the swamp,” they said.
“See how we can raise the people up in your arms,” they said.
“Raaaaaaaar!” he said, and crushed them.

When Godzilla came to town, the poor invited him to their hovels.
“See how you can fell the rich,” they said.
“See how we can fix everything in your wake,” they said.
“Raaaaaaaar!” he said, and crushed them.

When Godzilla came to town, the other monsters warned him to stay away.
“Raaaaaaaar!” they said.
“Raaaaaaaar!” he said.
“Raaaaaaaar!” they said.

The Warrior’s Child

by abclarke

There’ll be time for dying when we’re dead.
Time for bathing in our sorrow.
Time for pity when the sun’s done down.
Time for grief tomorrow.

There’ll be time for fighting when we’re older.
Time for hate without restraint.
Time for killing if it’s needed.
Time for hell’s foul brush to paint.

But for now, I hold you in the morning.
For now, I gaze upon your face.
For now, your cries bring joy upon me.
For now, I bathe within your grace.

There’ll be time for dying when we’re dead.
Time for all our worlds to end.
But child, oh child, I beg you,
This time, dear God, extend.

The Wages of Sin

by abclarke

One day my friend and I debated how much it cost to run Heaven, versus Hell. My instinct was Hell, with its brimstone furnaces, and complex descending circles of punishment, was clearly more expensive to maintain.

“Not so,” he argued. “We’ve seen proof that Heaven is Hotter than hell, so the heating bill of paradise is higher.  As for other costs, those hosts of angels are singing for their supper. They don’t come for free.”

“Hah,” I proclaimed! “If we include labor, given the amount of  evil in the world, Hell must be orders of magnitude more populous than Heaven. In manpower costs alone, the wage burden must be overwhelming.”

“You misunderstand,” he said. “The wages of sin are virtually nothing. Hell is staffed, and populated, purely by volunteers.”

The Big Picture

by abclarke

George, who only saw the ear, thought it a greying tarp.

Oliver, who only saw the tusk, thought it an iconic tower.

David, who only saw the leg, thought it a noble oak.

Only Ian, who saw the whole, understood it was a parable.

The Zen of Balance

by abclarke

Balance is hard; Balancing is easy.

Fire and Water

by abclarke

Furious fire, erupting forth,
He is lava.
Gnarling, whorling, devouring
Relentlessly reaching for her.

Calm, deep,
She is the sea.
In her patient caresses,
Shaping, smoothing, succoring.

When they touch,
As she smothers his furnace,
In the steam and pain,
A new land is born.

The Shadow-Caster’s Tale

by abclarke

They said she did not need him,
Was better than him,
Was debasing herself.

That she was pure,
A shining light,
Brightness incarnate.

That he was her shadow,
A blemish,
A blot.

Still she shone on, afraid,
For without his shade,
Was she even there?

In the years after he left
(To darken another’s flame)
Her aura cast his outline upon the world.