The Lament of Punxsutawney Phil

In a past life, I was a poet. And at one point, I wrote a terza rima about Groundhog’s Day. Enjoy.

The Lament of Punxsutawney Phil

I will not be your sundial this year.
I hear you clamor
across TV truck wires in the square,

waiting, but still I must put a damper
on your gathering.
See, I know I am just a paramour,

an annual fling. So cease bothering
me in my warm hole
with your boorish, portentous nattering;

I know the truth. I am not the first fool
you’ve tricked to go
into this prognosticative cesspool,

to be exalted on the Today Show
and kissed by Katie,
to be targeted, marketed, and sold

like a Tickle Me Elmer Fudd. Maybe
it would suffice to
confess: I’m afraid — of light, of Katie,

even of myself. (If only you knew —
my Peter Pan fights
with my shadow are quite angry to-dos.

I do not want to squint in the bright light
to see that sad thing.
I live in the dark for a reason.) Might

I read a note from Phil the First, whose things
still litter this den?
“A word to the next: You’d best see nothing.”

I know now what he meant; despite your yen
for this burly shrew,
my shadow’s the last thing you want seen then,

lest I be the scapegoat, the damned hog who
summoned another
cockeyed winter. So, when you give that cue,

my dark reflection will hide from cold earth
and still colder air.
And also, my name isn’t Phil; it’s Earl.


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