The God of This World

The God of This World

Three brothers drew. Three brothers drew, by lots,
Their stewardship of this round earth’s three spheres:
Defined by long tradition as: the sky;
The sea; sweet (euphemistic) by-and-by;
And this (not euphemistic) vale of tears.

(These number four.) Each brother claimed his turf:
So Jove, the most pleased, vaulted to the air;
While Pluto, in his bunker, hunkered down;
And Neptune held his breath, tried not to drown,
And, counting on his fingers, wondered where

The borders of his wet dominion fell.
“Did I not draw,” asked he, “the middle lot?
“To all ‘twixt heaven and hell should stretch my reach.”
He muttered as he flopped onto the beach,
“Is this not mine?” Said Pluto, “It is not.”

For there was Pluto, tiring of his glooms
And blinking in the pleasant summer sun.
“I drew dominion of the earth’s inside.
Dominion of the surface is implied.
This ground is mine, for dirt and dirt are one.”

From up above Jove thundered, “I’d assumed
That my dominion, since it is the highest,
The most resplendent—also the most rainy—
Would cover all loose ends and miscellany.
Thus we agreed.” His brothers said, “Thou liest.”

O Neptune, deepest king; O Father Dis;
O Jupiter, the overlord of thunder!
We’d gladly give due reverence if you’d show
Us which one of you gets it, if you know.
Meantime we’ll all sit idly here below
And wonder.


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