Man Shoveling Snow on a Unicycle Dressed as Darth Vader, while Playing Flaming Bagpipes

Someone once wrote that originality
and insight are like twin lamps

fastened above the gate to a walled
and fabled city where the lucky ones

live; while most of us will labor in the mud 
and muck of daily life, trying to get closer 

to the wedge of lemony radiance they shed, 
open-mouthed at such brightness that holds

fast through darkest winter and outshines
any lunar or solar glow. What are the odds

we'll get there, if the roads are either
lashed by flood, overgrown with brambles,

barricaded with wire or crusted over 
with ice? The going is painful and slow; 

any speed gained is downhill and breakneck—
a word dating back to the 1870s, when men

trying those novelty penny-farthing 
bicycles lost their balance, flew 

through the air and landed face down 
on the cobblestones. What are the odds

anyone teetering on a single giant 
wheel could look dignified, wielding 

an instrument designed to dig or move
dirt or coal, sand or snow, clad in

last year's Halloween costume? Bleat  
a tune through torches, carry on 

as if this were the most natural thing 
in the world. Laugh or cry or point out

absurdity and spectacle—but remember,  
the only difference between the comic 

and tragic is which side of the gallery
erupts in cheers, and which with ridicule.  

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