Verse -The Strong Man

Inside the Super-Hero

He was strong. Unlike some men his size
power pulsed, constrained–there was no fat.
He stood tall. His eyes looked down on those
passing by who turned and stared, impressed.

He would smile. He joked when asked his height,
“Five feet…twenty!” Childhood awe returned
(big is best, is boss.) Authority
is imposed. The strong do what they want.

He had never been a little child–
young, but never small. Assumed adult,
he was proud to grapple, fight and hold,
lift and shoulder, carry, guard, protect.

Work was good, but work was never done.
Satisfaction was postponed. Trials like
cancer cells dividing, unrestrained,
overwhelmed him. Tasks enough to make
gods despair. Then building built decayed,
bridges fell, and wars blazed in the land
he had calmed before. He went to bed.

The world’s weight will break the strongest man.

Steven Shoemaker, Urbana, Illinois

[Published in Response, Journal of the Lutheran Society for Worship, Music and the Arts, No. 3, 1976.]

Note: Apology to Steve for re-publishing this morning as “Inside the Super-Herod. LOL. Actually, the mistaken title also seems to work.

Six Feet Eight

We stopped for lunch in Kentucky.
Over the years I’ve heard them all,
the jokes about being tall:
“How’s the weather? Basketball?”
But the waitress surprised me…

“You’re so tall, you make me feel
like a woodland creature,” she
said while looking up at me
from a height of five foot three.
A child once was original…

I’d gone to read poetry
to the first grade classes. They
sat on a red rug. Said she,
“Please, O please, don’t fall on me,
Mister Tree…”

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, March 30, 2014