©Poems of R.F.Mueller- Other Times, Other Thoughts
Item: Avifauna of Virginia refutes Lynchburg fundamentalists; evolution proved.
Ever since the first of them peered from behind an arquebus
Toward this coveted land,
They tried to change it and write
Their goddamned trademark in the sand.
Virginia? Only a name for the fairest
Woods and hills between the sea
And the Allegheny Ridge.
But in that mystical red soil there's nothing
That turns out Virginians like
Hickory nuts turn out native hickory trees.
Neither do the mockingbirds utter subtle bird y'alls
Instead of melodious rippling calls,
Nor the aborigines authentic rebel yells.
Old Beverley — who didn't fit the pattern —
Has highest praise for the first and
Most un-Virginian dwellers here.
They valued freedom and the individual
And refused to follow stupid leaders off to war.
They were hospitable and generous to the poor,
Kept no slaves, but adopted prisoners.
Although they did crack an occasional
Virginian's skull — but hardly without cause.
But then England's commercialism set the trend
And everything, including human souls,
Assumed its value in coin and blood.
The overseer became the symbol of the Old Dominion,
A posture that they somehow never have
Wanted to forget, with their gun worship
And other square-jawed macho fits.
Yet a free and lofty spirit did emerge
In certain of the founding fathers
Who, although weak by compromise with slavery,
Knew how to spread their wings and soar —
With "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"
And much more —
Above all nations, and tempered many a
Potential despot here and there.
Indeed, in those days great rogues and the
High minded seemed to mingle in profusion.
But then a strange mutation happened, and
A slick and suave mediocrity set in,
But still infected with the great original sin.
We all know about the brother-killing war,
But how about the subtle racism that
Pervades all budgetary considerations,
Courthouse gangs and political alliances?
Out of such as this evolved a mighty politician
With geneology back to the Flood.
It's said he made or broke men with a nod so that
Eight governors served by the grace of this big byrd and God.
Then he passed the scepter to his son, a little byrd grown big,
Whose greatest boast was all the the Senate roll calls made
And all the industrial taxes that he'd saved.
Yet no matter how hard they beat their wings
These strange byrds could never rise above their apple trees.
Of course we all know they had solid bones,
But don't be surprised that the hollow souls
That didn't help them fly
Also wouldn't let them down. So
Survival of the fittest again is clearly shown.
Triumphant Darwinism really didn't need this win
Just to bring the fundamentalists deep chagrin.
There is a recognizable continuity between the attitudes behind the "massive resistance" to school racial integration introduced by Sen.Harry Flood ( note "flood" reference ) Byrd in the 1950s, and current activity in the Virginia Legislature. Any introduction of a Virginia Republican's political campaign must always start with a disavowal of gay marriage. Recent activity has included bills to prohibit adoption by gay people and promotion of a constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage. There has also been an absorption with the historical resistance to any increase in taxes and the issue of a State song. The killer tobacco industry also retains a strong voice. Long admired by me, however, is the tried and true military gallantry of Virginians, which, however, makes them particularly vulnerable to exploitation by demagogues, as in the case of the Iraq war. Additionally, rural Virginian business people ( at least those I've known ) seem to have a code of ethics that prevents them from overcharging for their services.