They eye each other mournfully,
The stick man and the crow.
Each the other’s enemy
Is all they seem to know.

The corn is long since harvested...
A barren stubble scene,
But stick man’s only stick idea
Is, “No black crow shall glean!”

Abandoned by the farmer,
He has no further use.
His hat is in the stubble, and
His straw is hanging loose.

Nobody thinks of him at all.
No farmer comes or goes.
All he has for company...
A woodlot full of crows.

But there’s no autumn treaty,
No pact to be discussed,
A senseless antipathy of fear,
Hatred, and mistrust.

Both sides here are scarecrows
And the thing that makes them scary?
An inability to change, adapt,
Compromise, evolve, or vary.

Tragic... and as foolish as
Any ancient story:
A rigid hubris vaulting
Diplomacy for glory.

More crows will soon assemble
Summoned by a “CAW!”
They’ll eat his eyes and scatter
His broken sticks and straw.

From hatred... never hunger...
The stick man’s rudely torn.
The crows know well enough that mice
Have eaten all the corn.

Can neighbors raised on hatred
Acknowledge any error?
Is there any hope for enmities
Begotten out of terror?

No? Then pick your poison, people,
The Hitlers or the Neros.
You too can be a figure
On the field of Hatred’s heroes.

The Sunni or the Shia,
Palestinians or Jews.
Pick one or be a coward;
A “real man” must choose.

Neo-cons or ayatollahs,
Progressive left or Christian right,
White man... black, red, yellow.
Come on, get in the fight!

Where might makes right, of course,
The only power source is Hate.
In a world so configured,
Peace and Love must wait

Till one side is just sticks and straw
Strewn in stubble rows.
Then “real men” can settle in
Their caliphate of crows.

Or is there another option
In our autumn field tableau?
An overlooked third party,
Neither stick man nor crow?

Is there any peaceful fellow
In the desolation here?
Any creature not a hater
It were better to revere?

It’s an idle dream, most likely,
But I’m old and idle now,
So I’ll state my choice of hero
While I’m able, anyhow.

Let us praise the common field mouse,
Hating neither man nor crow,
Gleaning his modest kernel...
Before the winter snow.