Sway Over Them All



When Mirth walked into the costume ball,

Gasps of surprise quickly filled the hall.

Who could this gaunt spectre be

Whose face evinced such misery?

The lines of loneliness, fear, and grief,

Of burdens borne without relief,

They mutely called to one and all

And said, "In full, I've tasted gall."

But most of all: the tortured eyes

"That mask," said all, "will win the prize."


Unmasking time, it came at last,

And masks came off both slow and fast;

They were lowered down from face to hand

'Til all but one were revealed, and

As the sun rose up to start the day

The consensus prize was gi'en away

"Come," they cried, "winner of first place,

Show us now your real face!"


Then all knew Mirth, his happy smile,

His eyes a-sparkle all the while,

And all the party loudly spoke

For Mirth had pulled a wondrous joke:

While most doffed masks that gala dawn,

Mirth contrived to put his back on.


                                                                                                            Christopher J. Cramer

                                                                                                            July 29, 1980