Gary Langford

Riddle of the Sphinx

You don't have to dig in Egypt to ask,

what has four legs, then two legs, then three legs?

If you answer correctly you can join us.

We cherish and do small things well.

We do not tolerate protection rackets.

We do not live with hungry ghosts,

eager to supplicate our beliefs.

We are called Parrot People.

We have been builders all our lives,

perfecting laughter in brick and wood.

We are culturally ahead in what we make.

Our hard fingers move like cars.

We become rowers, who blossom on independence,

stepping out of ourselves and the Sphinx.


I remember the beast,

the one who crawls out of photos;

the one who mangles kids;

the one who took you out of school

to become a swamp mother;

the one who gave you shock treatment

for post-natal depression;

the one who tapped at the window

when you were alone,

singing, knickknack paddywhack,

give the beast a bone;

the one who laughed and grinned

as you looked in the mirror

to see the beast within.

Time's Seat

The current sings grandly, as the day's chorus.

Water rows down the streets of each other,

soaking the Christian's clothes; the shoes buckle,

without anger fitting time's feet.

We cannot dig ourselves out, sleepless nights,

stars imploding in the sky, more conscious,

more vibrant in the season's merge,

just as we do in the earth's arms.

Ghostly feet drum over our heads.

We learn to hold on to our thoughts,

as calm as the sky's final tilt,

as truly spoken as the universal mind.

We discover eternity lies beyond all,

the emperor on time's seat.


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