Tread Lightly

The cobra takes position
Defensive in its stance
Considers its condition
With survival in its glance.
The guard upon his sentry
In demeanor is alike
He monitors the entry
And readies for a strike
Take notice of his figure
Tread lightly on his patch
Do nothing that might trigger
The ignition of his match
. Beware the enemy in wait, the spontaneous debate,
. Take care the masking of a trait … too late, too late.

© Tim Grace, 13 August 2010


 

To the reader: Around the world our dignitaries are guarded by ceremonial sentries. The guards are garbed in symbolism and perversely create a deliberate and distracting point of interest. The aloof but alert nature of a guard is what creates public curiosity and draws our attention away from the protected investment. Every gesture of guardianship is nuanced with reference to a larger more potent force lying in wait … ready and prepared to strike if called upon to do so.

To the poet: Short lines and simple statements in three sets of four. The first four describe a cobra coiled with the tension of a tightly wound spring. The middle four describe the counterpart; the guard in wait, the sentry at attention, the guard on guard. The final four holds together the allegory with ambiguous use of ‘his’ as either cobra or guard. The lines in the last couplet are long and stretch the use of rhyme a little too far.


 

 

tread lightly

tread lightly

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