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June 01st 2009 print

Paul Lake

Underdog and Overlord

The Underdog is born to serve

the purpose of the Overlord,

who serves in turn the general good

by giving work to Underdog—

a dogma that each dog must learn,

according to the Sacred Word

recorded by the Overlord,

who with his sword and pen assured

his lordship in the human herd.

Until the light of reason shone

and Underdog went underground

to post a new word of his own.

Proclaiming each dog has his day,

he found that web log and broadside

can’t underdog-by-underdog

reshape the world to suit his need—

not when like broadswords broadcasts sweep

across the airwaves in their sleep.

Aspiring now to greater heights,

the Underdog worked overtime

and took a college course by night—

until he heard his teacher say

that in this dog-eat-dog world, he

himself was Underdog, and, conversely,

that Underdog was Overlord,

who ruled the whole world with his sword,

who crushed the weak, who starved the poor,

whose captains loosed the dogs of war,

and who for all of dogdom’s good

must have his top-dog powers curbed.

Astounded at what he had heard,

the hangdog heart of Underdog

caught in his throat till he espied

beneath his tenured teacher’s beard

the flashing teeth and shining eyes

of Overlord in a new guise.