Meritocracy When the Left tries to cow us and trammel our prowess ____We resort to a stiff upper lip, Well aware that their winning will spell the beginning ____Of our comeback the moment they slip. If the Government makes us repeat old mistakes, ____Then our indolent selves are to blame, For the measure of worth on this planet called Earth ____Doesn’t favor the halt and the lame. The inveterate habits of cottontail rabbits ____Are completely conditioned by fear, And the best habitat for a maze-running rat ____Is a course where incentives are clear. Neither gender nor race should be cause to displace ____A contender who’s best at the game, And affirmative action will marshal no traction ____If all people are treated the same. But if anyone tries to disable our eyes ____So that what they present us is false, It’s our duty to fight the advancing dark night ____Insofar as our veins have a pulse. Advice to Immigrants When you’re in Rome, do as the Romans do And let assimilation be your aim, Discarding habits you’re accustomed to That mark you as a rustic zealous Jew. Renounce the foreign kingdom whence you came When you’re in Rome. Do as the Romans do And not what suits a hick from Timbuktu. Acquire a toga, Latinize your name, And lose the habits you’re accustomed to. But never rush to join a galley crew, For war at sea is sure to drown or maim. When you’re in Rome, do as the Romans do, And as for verse, don’t try to “make it new,” Since what exists has earned sufficient fame. So shed the habits you’re accustomed to, Submitting to the test of peer review, That all may know: at least you played the game. When you’re in Rome, do as the Romans do And break the habits you’re accustomed to. Predator Consider, if you will, the doughty Robin That tirelessly pursues his minor prey Across the lawn and at the forest edge. Precise as any tailor’s spinning bobbin, From daybreak till the evening’s final gray, He executes his fundamental pledge: To feed his mate and hatchlings on her sired. His beak is laden with collected worms And other morsels that compose his forage; This bird is for that very purpose wired, And let those slimy creatures come to terms With being hapless victims held in storage. I watched through someone’s kitchen window once A robin doing battle with a six- Inch caterpillar wrought from Satan’s forge. The combat, much unlike his normal hunts, Required he slay it with repeated pricks From thrusting beak: the image of St. George. When I approach, Cock Robin flies away, But not from fear—from legendary prudence. He wears an orange blazon on his breast, In contrast to his upper hunter’s gray, And we could do much worse than be the students Of birds whose luckless foes enjoy no rest. C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden. Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India. His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press.