If a Book…

Standard

If a book can drive people to build gold-dripping brick palaces in honour of an imperceptible sky-dweller
Or to melt wax and drape hatred over glistening, Christening altars
Then consider the power of fiction.
If a book can create and nurture mass hysteria for thousands of years, then consider the power of fiction.

If a book can drive people to kill or to keep:
To keep and punish and sacrifice
To sacrifice and ostracise and bully and excommunicate
If a book can invent such fantastic characters that even the inconceivable becomes believable
Then consider the power of fiction.

There, saints on pages say women must be silent
There, invented words would have you devote yourself to destruction
where wives and slaves submit to men
—Men who must not love one another—
Here, sacrifice your children unto this scripture:
And they saw that it was blood.

And still, its readers read—feeding hate
And still, they root for its main character
Through an aperture of death
Death masquerading as life
And still, its readers explain away horror as metaphor

And interpret and manipulate evil into excuses:

Free will and mysterious ways.
So today, embrace the power of fiction.
Embrace the power of fiction and keep writing.
Keep writing your own book
And perhaps one day
Writers shall unwrite The Bible.

Wilfred’s Men

Standard

A poet’s shattered soul reacts to crumpled men with words intact;

Recalling lies as glory folds, one verse – yet many stories told:

Our Wilfred said they’d cursed through sludge, towards their distant rest they’d trudged;

And Wilfred’s men had lost their boots but limped on, blind; deaf to the hoots.

There, Wilfred saw a hanging face – as death came to his writing-place;

So we could read -at every jolt- of gargled blood to our revolt.

If Wilfred knew – if he could see -dead men survived by poetry,

What would he say – and would he be surprised his words adored by me?

Adored by age, revered by youth; for otherwise-unspoken truth.

If he were now – if he were here, would Wilfred to the world endear?

Or is it likelier he’d see: arms being sold; cash weaponry?

And then the fight to stop it all, this great divide as countries fall?

Perhaps for now, hypocrisy – humanity’s mobocracy:

And as he rhymes of this or that, he’d write: Manus Manum Lavat.

w