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When fakes fly free, innocents suffer

by John Simon.

Beneath one roof, he and I.
A bloated clergyman bouting hay fever
His stout figure nonetheless surviving
Very well
He taught me his history book:
It was that of Oedipus and hell.
Giving no love he expected none.
Taking always he never helped,
But instead popped on a bow tie
Saying: ‘Aren’t I swell?’
He believed that cleanliness was next to
So he churned the
Soap suds on at two
And rinsed riotously
Through a silent house,
-Beside his sleeping tenant’s poky place.
His callers-
Fellows gay,
Elderly ladies
Needing ‘father’,
Purveyors of money
His bank lackeys,
And debtors
(Whose debts he never forgave),
Came most days.
Some Sundays, beneath a Pope John snap,
He’d snore on till two, then on his stove
And guzzle spitted chickens, downed with silver gin.
In cassocked frame he’d take
A holier-than-thou look
Off to evensong,
-Leaving his tenant fleeced
By wrongful rent
And spleen-soul due…..

‘O most merciful Father’, he cries, ‘we are gathered here…..’
‘To give is better than to receive’, he pleads loudly.
‘To toil and not to seek for any reward’, he purrs dishonestly.
‘Dearly beloved brethren, dearly beloved brethren. Why the hell
don’t you listen?’ he gesticulates self-indulgently.
‘May I reply?’ I in the congregation will one day ask.