A CARDINAL'S PRINCELY PLEA
I give thanks, Lord, I am not commonplace,
A common bird of plain and common face,
But rather called to heights that must be served:
To leadership, however undeserved.
My whistling prayer makes
lower clergy wince
For in the church a cardinal
is a prince,
Makes territorial claim,
like tiger does,
Like shark does too, and
skunk, and walruses.
The robe I proudly wear is fiery red,
To fill all males with reverence and dread,
While females in my entourage wear brown
And keep their glimpses modestly cast down.
My plea: Lord! top my head's
red crest with gold!
To make me more impressive
So listeners pay heed to
what I say!
With deep humility -- for
this I pray.
May all these prayers I place before you, then,
Not hug the earth like prayers of lowly men,
May mine instead rise up like frankincense!
Your humble servant,
(signed) +His Eminence.
from the forthcoming book Prayers of 100 Animals A to Z, by William Cleary