Magazine July 19, 2010, Issue

The Hero as the Letter Q

Knights joust during a medieval jousting tournament recreated at London’s Tower, August 19, 2006. (Stephen Hird/Reuters)

Book hungry hero riding in the wrong
direction, galloping so strong and certain
with an historic crack across your brow,
gawky and gaunt, time’s angular knight-errant.

Clearly you wear a woodcut for a face
and caricature’s become a kind of habit;
and no one quite accepts your crooked lance
as lethal, least of all on this slack Sabbath.

Scholar with too much wormwood in your skull
to sally early — old windmills to conquer
and dragons’ fiery phlegm; against the sun’s
fierce disk, ridiculous in quirky armor:

I see you striding towards the intense feast
of the imagined quest beyond the failing
of our satiric cries; and the fat dwarf
beside you props your famished …

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