Scarecrow by Richard Biddle

“I have come for my brains,” remarked the Scarecrow, uneasily.

My mouth was a painted grimace

on a straw-filled potato sack.

I could not speak

My words came from scraps

and wasteland –

rats' feet over broken glass

Dust blew into my cracked

eyes. I could not cry.

Sometimes I sagged on this pole, like

A stilled flag. I was a wind-beggar.

I could hold up my bag-head if I chose

but usually I stared down at my scuffed shoes –

One brown, one black, no laces,

pegged in place by bulldog clips, they

hang from my trousers – like suicides.

Empty glove hands flap no fingers.

What wouldn't I have given for a bone or

a blackened tooth?

Now my intestines itch madly. Were I human

a tapeworm would be less irritating.

It's all kept inside with strong twine and

A belt buckle.

These days - I wish I'd tear open. Let

the crows peck me slack, become

a dishrag.

Six weeks ago,

after I was given my reason,

they nailed me up here,

two sticks crossed and tied,

broken broom handles.

That's the biggest joke of all.

Before, when I was an earwig's nest,

these thoughts did not exist.

Now I know what I am –

I'm a sham.

A pest controller, a bird scarer,

A dead man's Sunday best.

And I'm useless at it –

This is my last day on field duty.

They've been building it for a week –

Paper, twigs, unwanted furniture

logs. Everything chopped and stacked

piled up like a witch's hat.

It's all been dried out and dowsed in


Sacrifice is too strong a word for it,

I'm a device.

Up there's a chair with three legs.

The coronation throne where later

I'll receive my cardboard crown.

From tortured fool to murdered king

in a flash.

Oh how my new brains will burn.


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