A little village in Texas has lost its idiot.
-Caption on a protest sign
Let us deal justly.
-Edgar, disguised as Poor Tom, from Shakespeare's King Lear; act 3, scene 6
But where, oh where is the holy idiot,
truth teller and soothsayer, familiar
of spirits, rat eater, unhouseled wanderer
whose garble and babble fill rich and poor,
homeless and housed, with awe and fear?
Is he hiding in the pit of the walkie-talkie,
its grid of holes insatiably hungry,
almost like a baby, sucking in the police sergeant's
quiet voice as he calls in reinforcements?
Oh holy idiot, is that you sniffing the wind
for the warm turd smell on the mounted policemen
backing their horses' quivering, skittish
haunches into the demonstrators' faces?
Oh little village among the villages,
the wild man, the holy Bedlamite is gone,
and nobody, now, knows where to find him...
Lying in mud? lying caked in mud, hair elfed into knots?
Some poor mad Tom roving the heath
for a warm soft place to lie his body down,
his speech obsessed with oaths, demons,
his tongue calling forth the Foul Fiend, Flibbertigibbet
as the horses back slowly, slowly into the crowd
and he eats filth, he crams his ravenous mouth with filth—
and then he sits on his stool in the trampled hay
and deep-rutted mud, he anoints himself
with ashes and clay, he puts on his crown
of fumiter weed and holds his scepter
of a smouldering poker and calls the court to order.