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Poetry Prose and Other Words

by Ken Ingham

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The Duel
(after a painting by Laslette Pott)

You men! Honestly!
What could you possibly hope to accomplish,
standing there in the middle of the forest
with your sabers drawn?
Where have your hats and jackets gone?
I swear, this palomino has a greater mind
beneath its stubby tail
than have you in both your heads combined
Look at me when I speak!
I rode all the way from Nethingham for this?
A face-off in the clearing?
And you three! What are you whispering about?
Lurking there in your knickers and buckle shoes
urging them on like spectators at a cockfight
waiting for the blood to flow.
You all should be ashamed!
Someone could be killed! And then,
who will fight the real battles?
Please! Return your sabers to their sheathes.
If you so much as touch each other
your chances with me will be nil
'cause I'll be done with both of you
and both of you can go to hell.

The Duel by Laslette Pott