By Now You Have Forgot' (To Whom It May Concern)
Remember all the Wise Men on their knees upon your yacht?
With orphans on their backs they’d crawled (with others that they’d brought)
Through rubble on the highway sands and residues of Lot.
They came from severed cities selling postcards of your thoughts,
Though offered for a penny piece, not even worth a jot.
“How are you feeling? What it is you want, you’ve got.
The words you scrawl on calling cards: ‘I AM – the others NOT’
Shun wisdom of the seven seas: ‘Salvation can’t be bought’ –
Your fathers tried before you and your fathers came to naught.
“You started out by gelding goats and then by casting lots
Of bodies to the battlefields, contorted, tight and taut,
Then wallowed in the wake of trails the dervish devil trots.
“With marching bands of fatherlands, and drums of Hottentots,
You lure your legions in harm’s way like giant juggernauts.
Like Tweedle Dum your minions come (the sober and the sots,
The troglodytes, barbarians, and mislead patriots,
The Vandals, Huns and Hannibals and seaport Cypriots,
The Japanese, the Congolese, Americans and Scots)
To vanquish bows and arrows, spears and catapulted shots
Of those who hide in bamboo huts their families, pale, distraught,
(Their withered wives with dried up breasts, their swollen babes in cots)
Who swoon, engulfed in poison darts and vats of acid hot,
Consumed by magic mushroom clouds, atomic megawatts.
“In churches of your deities, your Holy Huguenots,
Your Imams, Rabbis, Voodoo Dolls and Mitered Lancelots
Lit wicked kindled candled walls in temples (while we fought)
(Used pins and needles, magic spells on makeshift mock whatnots)
And mosques, cathedrals, synagogues have blessed each new onslaught
With prayers for pipers, puppets, pawns, your rigid, armed robots.
“Upon your knees in golden naves, while peeking through the slots,
You horded thirty silver pieces, downed a whiskey shot,
Then crossed yourself and wrapped yourself in furs of ocelots,
And danced on cleated cloven hoofs in purple polka-dots,
Then drank His blood from chalice cups with pious afterthoughts.
“You’ve treated men like mongrels chained, like little flies to swat,
By doing what you wanted to, instead of what you aught;
You wipe your nose with dollar bills and pay your serfs with snot,
But when you pause to preen your pride, you scrub a scarlet blot.
“In ashes of our victories: the diamonds that you sought,
The crock of gold, the Golden fleece of bogus Argonauts -
In mirrors of your lifelessness, the evils you begot.
“The haunted leaves on winds of time have strewn a shallow plot
Where now beneath the frozen stones blanched bodies bathe in rot,
Disintegrate, return to dust and feed Forget-Me-Nots,
Amidst the bane and pits of pain where broken bones lie caught.
“In fields above the catacombs and tombs of Camelot
The black and withered tree of death is rooted to the spot,
Where oft beneath a bleeding moon you hid your gold in pots
Embedding doubts neath barren bogs where roots of wormwood squat.
“While waiting at the river Styx, in twisted time untaught,
From branches of the gallows tree, in recollections wrought,
Your soul, a beggar’s blanket, hangs in crazy quilted knots,
With dangling pearls and diamond studs mid dripping crimson clots,
And gaping wounds and bulging eyes like fouling apricots,
And wrapped in chains around your neck, the Reaper’s grim garrote.”
For that's the fate of all your kind, disclosed by Wise Men taught.
But that was, oh, so long ago, by now you have forgot’…
Terry O'Leary's Other Poems
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