The Gnome’s Spectacles
by Chris Burdette
Peering through the gnome’s spectacles, you see
Your world shifted: saturated colors
Threaten to blind with their intensity;
Objects once far distant now loom too close;
Gnarled, shaggy trees reveal hidden faces,
Showing in their brown, expressive trunks frowns,
Dismissive sneers of blunt disapproval,
Jeers at your pitiful, short-lived humanity.
Soundlessly a great white stag bounds close by
Pursued by a shimmering Greek Goddess,
Naked but for her bow and quiver of arrows.
With only a faint rumble of warning
A great mountain explodes, spewing rivers
Of lava on unsuspecting villagers.
A great gray saucer lands, its ramp descends,
Scores of tentacled blue beings emerge…
You rip the spectacles from your face and
All is again normal; you see only
What reason tells you can really be there.
Dropping the glasses beside the gnome’s twitching,
Still-unconscious body, you turn and flee,
Clutching tightly his red cap, the tarn-cap,
Which you will learn, when you are home and find
Courage enough to clamp it to your own head,
Does, as foretold, make you invisible–
But which also, once worn, you cannot pry free,
And which, without the glasses, hissing voices
Warn too late, strands you in utter darkness.