“I need him now to meet me face to face…”

From April to June, a local thief took advantage of dawn twilight to help himself to flowers from private yards, community gardens, and the cathedral grounds. In mid-June, the police nabbed him, and although he wasn’t arrested, his crime spree witheredbut not before a gargoyle on the north nave barked a bit of doggerel.


They paced the plot for hours, as mothers would,
But understood: “His arms were full of flowers.”

      * * *

  The cruelest month: a cusp’d cliché
  That pricks the wisp of guilty May
  And breeds the thief of blameless June.
   Summer, unsurprise us soon.

      * * *

“In April it was lilacs.” (Listen how
she hates to blame the deer.) “Hydrangeas now!
Four times this spring.” (Of course it could be deer.)
My peonies at least were spared this year.

      * * *

The Lilack speaketh late of early Love.
The bolder Peon prospereth a-red.
The Seede abundant unifies the Figge.
We love thee numb, O Koriandrum, come—
Fragaria, redeem the injur’d Maid.

      * * *

“He sold us flowers first a year ago.
We called him—Shantih?” Shantih does not know.

      * * *

We conquer by the weapons we desert.
By dawn the dogs will bound ahead to find
The efflorescent errand you resigned,
The arrow shafts unwagoned in the dirt.

(For all the entries in this series, hit the “looking up” tab, or read the gargoyle FAQ.)

3 thoughts on ““I need him now to meet me face to face…”

  1. Well, good to know they nabbed him at last! A pity there were no charges, though — was there insufficient evidence, or some other reason?


  2. According to a report on the neighborhood listserv, by the time the police caught up with him, he was empty-handed. (The owner of a local flower shop was appalled to realize she may have been buying stolen flowers from him.) It’s all settling down, but we’ll see if he comes creeping back next spring…


  3. Update: Someone on the local listserv says the thief is back. He now has a clearly defined route and can be seen clipping other people’s flowers in the early evening…


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