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Old Bart's Awakening: A Narrative Poem


Old Bart's Awakening

Bart lit a fire in the stove that eve

To take the chill so he could read

A tale about a killing spree.

He read the life of a family of four

Father worked all day, but still were poor

Then came a knock at the hovel’s door.

Mother loved a visit from neighbors few

Threw open the door with a welcome true

White mask with holes for eyes of blue.

A torch flew in on feather tick

Did land and light in a manner quick.

The family fled but the door was fixed.

Bart dropped the book on the floor at right

He could not read of the family’s plight

But conjured an ending of could or might.

Came a knock on door that autumn eve.

White mask with holes for eyes of green

He recalled just then it was halloween.

But book and story and guise of white

Did fill the man with dread and fright

So he chased the children into the night.

He grasped the sheet poor child wore

And stopped the chase to think yet more

Of his own grandpa in days of yore.

Old Bart was stricken with horror and grief

At the thought of kin who’d worn the sheet

And did such crimes, had done the deeds.

Inside he saw the book of gore

And in his heart he solemnly swore

That for his part would nevermore

Look down with pity on another’s plight

From manufactured social heights

And call this error a moral right

Grounded on freedom’s level land

Face to face he’d speak his ban

That race be not the measure of a man