[Poem] An Awkward Gait, by John Eppel


Papa, Daddy, Uncle, Dear Old Man:
what is it about dictators that we
coddle them with terms of affection?
The lion will slaughter, and even eat,
cubs of his rivals. No subordinate
stands in the way of the dominant
white-browed sparrow weaver, the ballast
of whose gonads gives him an awkward flight.

Why do we admire Generals, pity
vendors? Why do we revere lions,
laugh at hyaenas? What is it about
the clenched fist, the conical tower, church
steeples, pyramids, codpieces, that we
adore? Now this Autocrat, the ballast
of whose honorary doctorates gives
him: Uncle, Dear Old Man: an awkward gait.

(c) John Eppel, 2008

About the author

John Eppel is an award-winning poet, novelist and short story writer. His books include the novels, D.G.G. Berry’s The Great North Road ( Carrefour-Hippogriff, 1992); Hatchings (Carrefour, 1993) and The Giraffe Man (Queillerie, 1994). His latest novel, The English Teacher (extract) is due out shortly from amaBooks.

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