[I was really impressed by Mark Strand’s The Prediction, so I thought I’d try writing a poem of similar theme and meter- enjoy (or not).]
The inevitable flotsam builds blocks in my cranal canals,
erecting an enormous weir, but bunching behind
the wall, that now bubbling barrier,
bright pulpy ideas, and eager sparkling juice
begin to burst through the damaged dam;
out come pouring coalescing creations, greeting
and mixing with their jetsam kin, their forms
gaining defining dimensions, the flow pushing them forward,
the children of the brain evolving into comprehension, appendages growing out of them,
detailing a nowhere universe, I am discerning them now
and am seen seeing them, and seeing this they are running away,
unto a page they splash and land, splash and might flounder.
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“Compassion is the basis of all morality”
The first man he had brought death to was his father. He brought it to him in a dirty golden goblet, stained purple with the earthy poison it often held. His mother had forfeited the (not insubstantial) silver for the mixture, and the People had been kind enough to provide the goblet itself. Thus was Lamprocles, the fittest of his family, reduced to Death’s delivery-boy.
Despite years of similar service for his mother, he was not a very fast courier: he moved towards his destination in a cautious stabilizing tread. This was somewhat necessary, as he had to overcome the city’s most recent scars- scattered mounds of splintered stone and shredded wood. As he climbed over these remains of the Athenians’ once grand wall, he kept his goblet-hand locked and extended, so as not to spill the mixture. Were he one year younger, he would have engineered such a spill rather than avoid it. He would have run in quiet tears to his mother and claimed there was an accident on the road or an incident at the herbalist’s store. She would have consoled and lightly scolded him, then turned to her father for another loan to pay for the second dose. She would have gone herself the second time, to beg the storekeeper for another mixture at a reduced price so that her children would not be hungry while they mourned. All the shame, dishonesty, and poverty, he would have endured- if only it bought his father the time it took to deliver a second mixture.
But Lamprocles was twelve years of age, and though not yet a man, he had begun to understand what it was that would make him so. Honor and Duty obligated him to guard the goblet with his life. He was more than willing to lay down his life- he had, in fact, planned to do so, to drink the hemlock himself as soon as he acquired it and thereby save his father’s life. But, in time, he recognized this childish plan for what … Continue Suffering