Above All Else

Caverns crumble
Around the body.
Birds squawk
To warn of trouble.

The roof is caving,
But I have no pitch.
Where will I go
Without a home?

Walls press in
To squash the weak.
Women scream
Of wretched treatment.

The enemy is coming
At the eve of morning.
Our soldiers will never
Keep the peace.

Warnings abound
From storefront preachers.
Oracles of death
Cry out the worst.

Darkness falls
To cover unspeakable
Crimes too obscene
To mention out loud.

What will be
The fate of my kingdom?
Will my family starve,
Or become beggars?

Traitors abound when
What we need most
Is a kind word
And a kinder deed.

Will men be unfaithful
To their oaths?
Will mothers be torn
From their children?

Times of war
Bring out the worst,
Though times of peace
Breed laziness.

A man who represents
His house and his ancestors,
Should fear the loss
Of his good name

Above all else.

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Author: Gordon S. Bowman III

Writer, Visual Artist, Blogger, Advocate

2 thoughts on “Above All Else”

  1. Gordon this poem inhabits Excellence on all levels. It brought to mind, The Second Coming, by W. B. Yeats. I see similar imagery and wordplay and it can represent entrance in war, which the U.S. may do with Syria, (let’s hope not) and/or the falling apart of society as in the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. This poem is really deep.

    W.B. Yeats wrote his poem after the disaster and upheaval of WWI and the implications and impact of WWI which eventually led to the greater tragedy of WWII

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart, the center cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
    – W.B Yeats, “The Second Coming”

    In the case of the United States & Syria war would be a double-edged sword, similar to Vietnam or Iraq. Societies and cultures, ways of life would be interrupted, lives destroyed. Our government would carry a badge of shame, guilt, PTSD even as we praise our brave troops who put their lives in harms way for a meaningless cause. All suffer on both sides.

    1. Thank you for your positive comment, Deborah. I appreciate the compliments and encouragement. It’s funny you say that because I actually considered using the line “things fall apart” but decided to resist the theft, even though it is a great line. Thanks for reading.

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