Lost and Found

Ron Padgett - 1942-

                                       Man has lost his gods.
                                       If he loses his dignity,
                                       it’s all over.



I said that.

What did I mean?
First, that the belief
in divinity has almost
disappeared.

By dignity
I meant mutual
self-respect, the sense
that we have some right
to be here and that
there is value in it.
(Values are where
the gods went
when they died.)

My dog Susie doesn’t seem
to have any values, but she does
have Pat and me, gods
she gets to play with and bark at.

More by Ron Padgett

Fairy Tale

The little elf is dressed in a floppy cap
and he has a big rosy nose and flaring white eyebrows
with short legs and a jaunty step, though sometimes
he glides across an invisible pond with a bonfire glow on his cheeks:
it is northern Europe in the nineteenth century and people 
are strolling around Copenhagen in the late afternoon,
mostly townspeople on their way somewhere, 
perhaps to an early collation of smoked fish, rye bread, and cheese,
washed down with a dark beer: ha ha, I have eaten this excellent meal
and now I will smoke a little bit and sit back and stare down 
at the golden gleam of my watch fob against the coarse dark wool of my vest,
and I will smile with a hideous contentment, because I am an evil man, 
and tonight I will do something evil in this city!

Poet as Immortal Bird

A second ago my heart thump went
and I thought, "This would be a bad time
to have a heart attack and die, in the
middle of a poem," then took comfort
in the idea that no one I have ever heard 
of has ever died in the middle of writing 
a poem, just as birds never die in mid-flight.
I think.

Words from the Front

We don’t look as young
as we used to
except in the dim light
especially in 
the soft warmth of candlelight
when we say 	
in all sincerity
You’re so cute
and
You’re my cutie.
Imagine
two old people 
behaving like this.
It’s enough 
to make you happy.