image borrowed by bing
“Alas! Must it ever be so? Do we stand in our own
light, and fight for our own shadows forever?
---Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton
Today, Punxatawney Phil, the “seer of seers”,
(supposedly) awakened from his winter slumber
and emerged bright-eyed from his burrow
at Gobbler’s Knob and made his 127th
prognostication--and after not seeing
his shadow, predicted that spring (might)
come early this year.
Performing this feat in front of 20,000 people,
this being the weekend--many of them
wearing top hats & tuxedos.
There is a seamless thread for this sacrement
to other animal predictions of the weather,
stretching back across the shoulders of centuries;
tied to the Romans, and the Catholic ceremony
of Candlemass. The early Germans decided
to use the European hedgehog as prophet--
when a large population of Germanic folks
first settled into Pennsylvania, they found
a profusion of groundhogs, so the honors
were lovingly transfered to a new rodent.
In 1886, Phil was first called Br-er Groundhog,
and they relocated the ceremony to the Knob
in 1887. Like Superman & Lassie, Phil is ageless.
There are, of course, several usurpers out there
coveting his notoriety & throne.
Staten Island Chuck in New York State.
General Beauregard Lee in Atlanta, &
Wiarton Willie up north in Ontario.
“They are all just rodent pretenders”
reported the Inner Circle.
Phil has been manipulated by media whores
for decades, and he seemed content with this;
During Prohibition, he threatened 60 more weeks
of winter if he couldn’t get a stiff drink.
In 1958, after Sputik & Muttnik, he was dubbed
the official United States Chucknik.
In 1981 he wore a yellow ribbon to honor
the American hostages in Iran.
In 1993 he starred in a movie with Bill Murray.
In 1995 he appeared on the Oprah Show.
It is said that Phil is never “wrong”
with his predictions, just sometimes
“less accurate secondary to freak circumstances”.
That sounds too much like the incessant patter
I used to hear from my stepfather.
Posted over on dVerse Poets-poetics
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