Vox Poetry Contest


This poem received an honorable mention in the “Humor & Light Verse” category in the 2024 Vox Poetry Contest.


The Ancient Law

by Hal Johnson

For the first time, since time began,
The last till time is ended,
For six foot five of natural man
The order is suspended
Because, when Daniel Boone strides by,
The ancient law does not apply.


The trilobites were governed through
A series of procedures
That, with amendments, have proved true
For all primordial creatures;
And yet, when Daniel Boone comes near,
The rules of Robert disappear.


The duty that we owe to our
Relations and our neighbors
Is such a low and easy bar,
According to the papers
Some advocate had scrawled upon
In the red Pennsylvanian dawn,


But here comes Daniel Boone. His speed
We liken to an arrow.
He’s in and out, the way that Bede
Might write about a sparrow.
A lightning flash to keep at bay
The statutes that betray us—
A lightning flash as bright as day
And, when the light has slipped away,
A night falls on our chaos;
For when the Book of Boone is closed
The ancient law is reimposed.


About the Poet: Hal Johnson is the author of several books, including Impossible Histories and Apprentice Academy: Sorcerers. Find him on substack or wallowing in your local gutter.


Read More from the 2024 Vox Poetry Contest