Emery L. Campbell
2011 Georgia Senior Poet Laureate

Emery L. Campbell, 84, Lawrenceville, is no stranger to Senior Poets Laureate competitions. During the eventís 19-year history, he has won numerous Georgia awards, was National Senior Poet Laureate Award winner in 1999, and served with other former national SPLs on this yearís panel of judges. Emery is past president of Georgia Poetry Society. He has a B.A. in French and often accentuates his witty poems with Francais. He is a retired wood cellulose sales executive. He has published two books of poetry. Emery has two sons. His sign is Leo.


DECLARATION OF THE FORSWEARING
OF OPHIDIAN DECORTICATION

With heedless stroke I drew the razorís edge
along the scaly belly of the beast
that once had languished, twisting, on a ledge,
meandrous, convoluted, now deceased.

Then grasping firm the creatureís empennage
I desquamated its integument
as one would strip a grill-bent fowl's plumage;
I'd peeled the sheath till flesh was evident.

The serpent, once a vital, writhing whip,
now dangled, flaccid, limp, bereft of form.
How arrant, stark; undone Godís craftsmanship!
Such butchery should never be the norm.

Within me pangs of penitence pulsate;
I vow this sin henceforth to abnegate.

Emery L. Campbell

Glossary:

decortication--removal of the enveloping membrane, peel
forswearing--renunciation under oath
ophidian--belonging or pertaining to the suborder Ophidia(Serpentes), the snakes
languished--lay downcast
meandrous--meandering, wandering
convoluted--coiled
empennage--tail
desquamated--peeled off
integument--a natural covering; a skin
plumage--feathers (pronounced plumazh as in French).
flaccid--soft and limp
arrant--unmitigated, notorious
penitence--regret for oneís wrongdoing
pulsate--throb, beat
abnegate--renounce, give up