200 Section 25 The Chancellor and the Fox

The Chancellor has lain abed too long,

spouse #7 a-slumbering by his side,

dreaming of England and her empire.

Full of the joys of spring, he hops down

from his perch and crows his luck. Choler

and melancholy dispelled, he dreadeth

no dream, fresh from the precognition of

witnesses antique and holy, heedless

of god’s foreknowing, the songster plies

his tweeting wit to outwit vulpine plans,

unknowing and unknown in his own mind.

The white horse tiptoes down the darkened hill

to tipple down the local pub and stagger

back up to his bed of chalk under the cloak

of moonless star-specked night atop mons

equi albi to toast the German king.

Foresight goes out the window for the sake

of wish fulfillment and free will. The Chancellor

is troubled by his vision of a future

great as any past. His instinct bids him

balk at any strangeness or change that he

may chance upon in his entitled work.

Vox populi’s a tramp. A wolf in foxy

dress appeals to selfish genes, flatters

his inbred duty and his rights. Fox stops

the Chancellor in his tracks; the still small

inner voice cowers still calm and small, while

from without Vox booms mighty applause.

Public opinion has got the Chancellor´s

sin-wracked corpus by the scrawny neck

in jaws thirsty for fur and treasure,

feathers and blood. John Bull is bullied now

by all and sundry. The swarthy wretched

of this ex-colonial earth beat at his

door to hate him to his face; the French could

never stand his guts; now the whole rest of

Europe loathes him too; Luxemburg boos him;

Ireland the North and South despise him too; even

the Welsh and Scots want out; and the United

States have nothing but contempt for this

Kingdom of disappointed souls. Ex-wives

revile him; and other women too flock

to repudiate his ill-repute. And yet,

as when abandoned Ariadne bewailed

those black departing sails or when Hecuba

and Andromache bewept the debellation

of Troy; or when Medea bemoaned her

Jason’s extramarital endogamous

amours; Dido Lavinia; or when

Peshmerga warriors rose up in

arms; as did the suppliant Danaids,

the Pleiades, Hasdrubal’s wife and the

Phoenician women, so did the clan of

Chancellor kick up a helluva ruckus

in the barnyard of that animal farm:

the pigs and dogs and cows and ducks and geese

and swarms of drones and black sheep and Jack Straw

and all his merry peasant band, Phaethon

in all his glory bearing the chariot

of the Sun across the Sky all set about

the wily fox with clattering of spoons

and pans. Fate does a joyful joyride hand-

brake turn. The Chancellor bids the fox berate

the whooping hoi polloi pursuant and

the noisy tribunes of the unwashed plebs.

Fox turns on cue to crow for his close-up

for paparazzi, while the Chancellor,

released for now from those cruel jaws flits up

onto the safety of the telegraph wires

strung overhead. “Vox populi’s a bitch

as fickle as the wind,” he gloats, as Fox

takes off, licking his wounds, tail between legs,

dreading his master’s voice. No joy this day.