September-November 2021

This posting of Scruples numbers 16 and 17 ends the reprise that began in June-August 2020. Number 18 is a new addition to the series.  This is its first appearance in print.

All told: “The idea of scruples has to do with ethics and morality: what is right and wrong. Scruples are a kind of moral compass that lets you know what’s right.”  ( )


Being born losers ups the odds
to dead set against us.
We game each day until
there’s none in play.

Luck, as it so happens, can run
short or long, change direction,
swing from good to bad.
Our lot takes chances by choice.
Dealing with all kinds at any time
makes us gamblers for life.


His eminence, hours into a tedious
speech about theology
in everyday space and time,
reaches a mute point.

Say no more, Aquinas, listen as heaven
revels, high strung harps pair
with dancing angels, corpus diem,
around the head of a pin…

To tell the truth, you’ve shown
they can in so many words.
Still riddled with doubt
is the nature of their gender,
be it male, female, or neither?


Out of hunger, not pleasure, a pride
                        of lions leaves its lair at dawn,
 bright and mighty on the prowl…

 Until noon they have time to kill, cunning                                                                                                                                                  embodied in every move,                                                                                                                        their tour de force an ambush…       


Sun o’clock— the only shade around
                          grows under acaccias.                                                                                                                           Bloody lions gather there to share                                                                                                                                                               the spoils in all fairness—
 by merit, rank, age, gender,
                           without any growling allowed.


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