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PETITION FOR A FLAT EARTH

My lords and ladies,
I am a poor man,
And a humble man.
My hand feeds myself,
Clothes myself,
Heals myself.
I know only one need
Beyond my own sustaining,
And so I make my petition:
Give us a flat earth.

Give us a flat earth
To preserve us from the lunacy
That would topple the seas of the earth,
Parapet upon parapet,
Into the gulf,
That would empty the seas to the burning.
Give us a flat earth
To preserve us from the lunacy
That would turn the world over,
Disembowel mountains
And set the sun falling
Edgeways across the sky.

Give us a flat earth.
A flat earth is every man's birthright.
A flat earth
With the seas walled in
Tight to the horizon
And the sun's timetable
As steadfast as the litany of the Church
And the rules of the Party.
Give us a flat earth,
A safe earth,
And a flat moon sailing in the sky.

My lords and ladies,
I know there are other voices
That are raised against mine -
Voices that are raised against mankind.
The new flesh,
Quick from the womb,
Does not understand the need
Of a planet bound to discipline -
That first breath would breathe poison
If it was not taught sanity.
That first thought would think nothing
Were it to overturn the century -
What do the newborn care?

Age and wisdom
Make the responsiblity ours.
We cannot stand and watch
Earth overturned
Entire as if by earthquake.
We cannot tolerate the dissent of those who sanction
The end of the world.
And so I make my petition:
Give us a flat earth.

Copyright © 2003 Hugh Cook

Picture of front cover of ARC OF LIGHT poetry collection by Hugh Cook.

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