As I walked the freeway's gravel shoulder,
About an hour later, I came upon
Another city-bound pedestrian.
He emerged from roadside brush as I passed
And quickly fell into step beside me.
His breath smelled strongly of distilled liquor.
Hey, he said. Why do you wear sackcloth?
I'm making a major fashion statement,
I said. What's your name and station, stranger?
Elijah, prophet of the lord, retired.
Elijah! Are you the famous Elijah
Who had the children who mocked your bald pate
Killed and eaten by bears sent by the Lord?
And the Lord, taking some criticism
From those who value children more highly,
Did then send out wildlife officers
Armed with rifles to find and kill the bears.
On some issues, however, you can't win,
And God soon learned others weren't pleased
With such disregard for life's sanctity.
He then sent animal rights activists,
After new complaints, to disrupt the hunt.
The bears evaded death in this instance
Only later to fall prey to poachers,
Whom God sent without any prompting,
Without any prior notice to beasts.
Since no one knew, no one complained.
This was nature as Godhead intended,
That state of out of sight, out of mind,
A glade where trees may uproot and fall
Without worry foresters may range near
To record the loss to total board feet,
The place poachers go if looking to poach.
They went there in stealth, departed in stealth,
Left bear meat to rot on mountainsides
But took the gall bladders away to sell
In markets unhindered by modern meddling.
Are you that Elijah, favoured of God?
The name to prophet watchers is well known.
My grandfather. If I were that Elijah
I would be too elderly to go hiking.
Moreover, you'll note, I'm not bald.
And that's a nice head of hair, nice beard.
And it looks like you've been sleeping out,
Curled up in underbrush, I deduce
From the twigs and grass stalks your locks have caught.
However, you're too flush and well-fleshed
To qualify ever as anchorite.
It's by choice, I'd guess, you choose the bush
In which to live out your retirement years.
Yes, I still revel in wilderness life,
Roll in it whenever I get a chance.
Prophecy was our family vocation,
And one which I dutifully pursued
From earliest youth into middle age.
But I've given it up now, prophecy.
The Lord God does not call me up now,
Probably because I've become a drunk.
That's terrible, I said. An awful waste.
Oh, being a drunk is not so bad.
I don't make the big bucks anymore,
But you can't beat the hours, you have no boss,
And you'll meet a better class of people.
Well, I myself am a prophet of the Lord.
I've just started, so I'm flat broke.
I really look forward to the big bucks.
Liber Jonae Contents