52 SONGS

...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Ben Franklin, Vegetarian

His boat lay becalmed off Block Island.
The crew caught and cooked some cod.

The scent of its singed flesh pulled his mind
Toward the man he used to be:

He used to eat meat. Applying his mind
To what he saw minutes before--on the deck,

Inert before the knife, the caught fish cut
To reveal inside smaller fish the fish

Themselves had eaten--he reasoned that
These creatures, who regard their own

As suitable food, may thereby be regarded by men
As suitable food.  He dined “most heartily”

Upon their singed flesh, grateful for Reason,
The fortune of it, the fortune of good weather

Unmentioned, the boat upon which he dined
Becalmed, Block Island just yonder.

No comments: