(or, Ode to Artaxerxes)

You could've been the greatest writer
The kind that makes women cry
And men go off to fight in foreign wars
You could have been the greatest.

If only I could have fashioned
A typewriter to fit your aquarium
Or kept you alive past your two-day warranty.

Building a vocabulary takes weeks
And proper English grammar months
Not to mention the principles of dramatic structure.

Instead you spent your too brief time
Blowing bubbles on the top
Or lying inactive on the bottom.

That is what gave me false hope
You were adopting a writer's pose
All-day idle contemplation
Ideas bursting in air

But I know deep down I am to blame
For giving you that blasted name
How could a goldfish lost in musing
Uphold the legacy of an ancient king?

Oh, Artaxerxes, Artaxerxes
Oh, Artaxerxes, Artaxerxes
The cruel way you smashed my dreams
Leave your fellows in their native streams
Oh, Artaxerxes

For I'm not ready to hope again
To my heart you've attached a chain
But should another occupy your tank
In your honor I shall name him Hank.

© 2000 by Michael J. Farrand

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