Authority [excerpt]

Behind bejeweled fingers
they grinned, they tittered,
to hear their friend--his cup
filled to spilling--propose
his toast to progress; then 
declare the Pope, "A dupe, 
a dullard, a simpleton.
A worm. A brass-brained dolt. 
A sheep. A braying ass
spooked by its own shadow."

Clearly he feared no man
now. No--not even
pious Pope Urban 
who strangled songbirds
in the Vatican garden
when they disturbed him.

From The Starry Messenger by George Keithley. Copyright © 2003 by George Keithley. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.