Treasure Island

gordon coombes

(nova scotia, canada)

An Epic For Our Time: A Requiem Part III: Tragedy Of Man


There is no end to the tragedy of man
the people jobless & homeless without a country
children throw stones at soldiers & tanks
their homes crushed by bulldozers
old men women children run over by bulldozers & tanks
in the name of national security
in this police state or that
from Ireland to El Salvador to Guatemala
from the miners mowed down at Iquique to the stadium in Santiago
from Argentina to Peru to Cuba to Haiti to Guernica
from the streets of Paris & Chicago & Seattle to Soweto
to Saint Petersburg to Leningrad to the steps of Odessa
to Mexico City to Tibet to Tenneman Square
from the Gulag of Siberia to Quantanimo Bay
to the killing fields of Cambodia & Bosnia
from Wounded Knee to The trail of Tears to My Lai
to the shipyards of Gdansk to the boulevards of Manila
from Fallujah to Bagdad
from Constantinople to Jerusalem
slaughtering in the name of Christendom
from Culloden to Amritsar to Kristalnacht
from the Golan Heights to Hebron
to Palestine a country of sad oranges & uprooted olive trees
their dreams of freedom crushed in a hail of bullets
and there is no end to the tragedy of man -

and there is no end to the Tragedy of Man
while the court poets pay homage to the rulers of the land
to maintain a life of luxury & decadence
and the philosophers use their craft
to give comfort to the new nobility
like sad Aristotle wanting their acceptance
fearing to take a sip of hemlock
as scholars & academics are bought for a few pieces of silver
as petty bureaucrats sign death warrants
and shuffle papers to ensure the trains run on time to the death camps
while claiming their innocence
and the world spins
and its always the same
and there is no end to the tragedy of man -

for a moment the locks are slipped
for a moment some light enters
our dark dungeons
and we have a vision of flowers
squeezing through the prison bars
hope arises in our hearts
as if great changes were about to come
as if the tragedy of man were about to end -

then the wondrous shimmering flowers fade & wilt
and hope is dashed again
like a child’s head dashed against stone
whole families slaughtered just for fun
towns & cities aglow in the night
with boiling tumbling waves of napalm
dropped by our would be liberators
and new jailers arrive
to tighten the bolts & locks
and our hearts are cast into darkness
for there is no end to the tragedy of man -

and every hour of every day
we taste not milk & honey
or manna from Heaven
but the bile of our dark fear
and our desire for revenge & justice
and there is no end to the tragedy of man -

Submitted: Monday, February 12, 2007
Edited: Thursday, January 13, 2011

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