Jim Dunlap


When fair love flees the questing knight *

I'll be unknown, but not forgotten,
When thieving time decays away,
A ruddy apple, gone ripe to rotten.

Not dark, nor light -- but subtly gray.
Loveshivery, with sigh or groan,
I'll linger like a ghost at play.

In dread seance, a psychic tone
Will haunt each place where lovers dwell
And melt all hearts not frozen stone.

Some hard-learned lessons I will tell
To any who've the proper ear --
Love lost leaves life the loser's Hell.

When inconstancies in shadows leer,
Mistakes not made aren't worth a tear.

* Re "Acquainted With The Night" --
with apologies to Robert Frost

Written In Water

The history of planet Earth
Involves changes in its climate --
Though men try to change the weather,
They don't do more than mime it.

The Dutch hold back the ocean
With a string of mighty dikes,
And reclaimed deserts bloom
With condos and turnpikes;

But the real story of the Earth
Is dictated by its seas:
If the climate's growing colder,
More water will commence to freeze.

If the climate's warming up,
That ice will quickly melt,
And inundate Earth's coastlines,
Submerging lands where millions dwelt.

Vast portions of Antarctica
Are embedded in shelf ice ...
But its glaciers are receding.
How much ignorance will suffice

To drown the world's seaports
And flood low-lying lands?
Preparations must soon commence:
We'll need every pair of hands.

The Netherlands and Venice
Will sink beneath the waves ...
Many cities and island nations
Will transform to liquid graves.

"Ignorance of history must
Doom mankind to repeat it -- "
Let's plan for cataclysm coming
So we'll be prepared to meet it.

Previously published in PABLO LENNIS, June, 1993

A Tasty Consort

Eric was a handsome lad
With hair strawberry blond --
Appearing like a young Greek god,
The sort of which young girls are fond.

One night in full midsummer
He walked along the shore --
And spied a gorgeous mermaid
Where none had been ... before.

One thing led to another,
And at last they shared a kiss --
She totally bewitched him,
And captured him with bliss.

When he came to his senses
He was far beneath the waves
In Davy Jones' Locker ...
A coral-encrusted cave.

They had him incarcerated,
But said a life pristine
Could be his fate ... if only
He'd espouse their Mermaid Queen.

He pondered long in solitude,
But in the end, agreed --
His major motivation proved
A plain wish to be freed.

The first year was paradisical,
Like a prolonged honeymoon.
The Queen conceived, a boy,
And the birth came all too soon.

Then Eric found they'd tricked him
And contrary to HIS wish,
They celebrated with a feast --
With Eric their primary dish.

        Mobius, Sept. 1998

The Politics Of Verisimilitude

An ill-thought-out statement can pack quite a punch,
So it's best to be careful while speaking:
"What you say at breakfast ... can eat you for lunch."

A knuckle sandwich might be what you munch
If your words cause inordinate 'freaking':
An ill-thought-out statement can pack quite a punch.

Unwelcome visitors might join you for brunch
If bad thoughts from your mouth exit streaking:
"What you say at breakfast ... can eat you for lunch."

The state of the world, at last forced to the crunch,
Throws a stench that's quite powerfully reeking:
What you eat for breakfast may inconvenience your

Of the species on earth, we're the worst of the bunch,
And we'll likely not find what we're seeking:
Mother Nature could just simply CANCEL our lunch.

No 'bang' and no 'whimper' can make just such a
As the blast where the fuel line was leaking.
An ill-thought-out statement can pack quite a punch:
What you say at breakfast ... can eat you for

Phrase used with permission of Dennis Greene

Ode To A Hapless Victim

What piercing imagination
imbues yon lovely girl with grace?
So still, yet perturbation
imprints agonies upon her face.
Her thoughts suspended in a shroud
of hopelessness and dread--
She seems a waif within a crowd
of those alive and those now dead.
The blood and gore unhinged her mind,
and now she wanders in a dream.
To evil deeds, she's simply blind,
although at night she'll wake -- and scream.
Don't open doors where darkness dwells:
like her, you'll wander endless hells.