Friday, October 19, 2012

Life and Other Miracles 5

The Nations


Listen, ye men who study the rise and fall of nations,

listen first o my children, builders of tomorrow: know

the force that built these walls, the force that will tear

them stone by stone, unless you listen how nations are born.


What lies in man’s heart shall be the drama of stately court,

both good that crowns the faithful spirit, and evil that seeks

to chain soul with flesh: so too in each nation two traits

reside, to move it back or forward in staggered direction.


Consider America, the reigning queen, how her mind

and hand are split between the destiny she does not

question, and obsession over race. She rules the world

but thinks not so, bravery with brazen act perverting.


Poland! What the bard spoke stands as firm today as

seven generations ago: peacock and parrot you are,

with pride begging prestige and honor of disinterested

West, while weaving world for self from long-gone past.


China, once unamused empress, now you pleasure dance

for the rest! Such noble heritage forgotten for a pence,

forgotten for piece of bread. And though power draws

back into limb, the victim scar is there for world to see.


Russia first to touch the stars! No other but the Tsar

can grip hold over Moscow’s spires and tundra waste.

Though you will ache for Roman rule, freedom proves

a heavy burden for you, and you welcome back the yoke.


What of the rest? What of Islam, of France, of Britain?

Of Africa’s children and Inca descent? The whole of

Hindustan by religion and poverty is bound, but these

in all are found: lust for power, thirst for money, the

poor that cry for bread with force. Such is yet the heart.

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