216 • Carruthers

216 • Carruthers

I was baiting a bear named Carruthers
At a church of the Carmelite Brothers.
I’m ferociously strong
So he didn’t last long,
But I guess they have plenty of others.

Musculature and morale falter infallibly in captive animals: it’s not the strength of the vainglorious aggressor we marvel at here, but the weakness of his victim. Monks may be ‘known for their unpleasant habits’, as the old joke goes: but should we perhaps applaud this compassionate Brotherhood for allowing its bears to be slain outright? Worldlier bear-baiting gangs are obliged, by commercial imperative, to keep their victims alive, to suffer – for our delight – day after day.

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