Purse of poems

When the sheriff calls

a purse of poems

will not pay tithes

nor sharpen scythes


The roll of glory

will not echo deeds

the scabbard scabbed shut

with old and ancient blood


No use a feather quill

to feed the hungry and the ill

as winter most frosty came

some kindling, to aid a flame


the grindstone sharpens axes

cutting wood to hearten hearth

Wenceslas might catch his sight

wandering cold one winter’s night


Would he tell unto his page

how his friend became a sage

of the scars and stitches passed

a story which can not be grasped


Bent now near to double

broken bones and haunted eyes

chinned in thickened stubble

the gnaw of hunger and not the whys


concerns him most as end draws near

with most all his vigour gone

he still keeps some parchment clear

in case of the passing, of a song


Thence and in a feathered script

to catch a dream before the crypt

is all the hope in his winter store

perhaps he has one summer more


The secret Soul behind his eyes

knows real for sure

that a purse of poems

will not ever pay the tithes


This peasant now quite benign

has but candles only one

to light his way at night

and to finish his last inken line


For his purse contains no more notes

no letters, coins or dust of gold

stardust’s ashes fill his cabin’s grate

spent all he has to keep out the cold


Nothing left no words to say

and when the sheriff calls

a purse of poems

will not pay the tithes

nor sharpen any scythes