Sebastian Ness

One man found a large lump of melted gold and the haste with which he shoved it under his coat and made off was astonishing. He was chased several blocks by the police, but was not captured.

Sebastian Ness was kicking through the
Still cooling ash at First and Main
When something solid led him to the
Enticing thought that not in vain
A gloved hand might venture, bending,
To touch some mystery, depending
On fortune’s smile to turn his fate
From lead to gold, to love from hate.
The lump he lifted flamed like foil
Beneath the blue, bird-speckled skies,
And Ness took flight with silent cries
That oozed out from his soul like oil.
His feet were fleet and did not pause
To ponder morals, rights, or laws.


  1. Quin Finnegan says

    Outstanding! I like “like foil / beneathe the blue, bird-speckled skies” most of all, but the whole thing is just grand.

  2. That reminds me of a poem I think I read here, and now reminds me of a poem I wrote when I was in primary school, which I had thought of recently but which I no longer have.

  3. It wasn’t particularly pleasant.

  4. I perhaps see what you’re getting at. I checked the publication date.

  5. I think maybe it reminds me of God’s Grandeur by GM Hopkins, SJ, what with the rhyming of “foil” and “oil” and the use of “ooze.”

    We should form a Press or something, maybe publish these.

  6. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    I really like the last couplet. It’s very Pushkinesque to describe a scenario in the first twelve lines, and then use the last two to pass some judgment.

  7. In all seriousness, I think the cries should gush forth instead of oozing up. Dude just hit jackpot.

  8. Jonathan Webb says

    If this poem were a major league player it would be +8 or +9 like Prince Fielder.

  9. Jonathan Webb says

    It’s also double-plus good.

  10. I like the use of the definite article leading the reader over the grammatical cliff, as it were.

    Robert Penn Warren likes to do that quite a bit in his poems.


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