Pity Goliath, scarecrow of the Philistines,
wide shield that hid a thousand quaking men.
Baal's champion, he made thunder
on command.
Skin tough as a shark's, dagger teeth, nine feet tall,
he was condemned never to look up at any man
even his king.
Trotted out like a standard before every battle,
he saved the hides of all the warriors
who could wet their pants in secret.
How many times did he answer the call,
"Hey Goliath, front and center?"
Caught in the work-a-day rut of killing,
how many times did he yell
his carefully rehearsed threats?
Never could his knees buckle, never
could anyone see his sword vacillate in his trembling hand.

And that shepherd boy, approaching,
to just inches short of his long shadow, that shepherd boy,
surely Goliath must have seen the stones picked up,
surely he must have seen the sling swung
in deadly circles, surely
he must have heard the rock swooshing like Baal's bad breath,
surely he had a lifetime of shunting spears and arrows
with a flick of his mighty shield,
a shield that became too heavy to lift.

Richard Fein

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