Fifty Years On: for Bastille Day 2
Her hands behind her back were bound
as if they held a flower
Her cheeks were dry, her eye resigned-
it seemed an honest sorrow.
She seemed an urn of miseries
that someone overturned
some time before and just now drained
beyond the bitter lees.
At her back the sentries tramped-
(she didn't lack for footmen)
their muskets bright with bayonette
turned back the morning sun.
Around, behind the little cart
trooped citizons, newly coined
The shadows of their pikes and spades
fell forward on the ground.
Many in her could see the cure
to every ill that plagued them.
A few were maybe not so sure
the woes that man is heir to
could be so easily lopped away
or recklessly erased
or what new forms of tyranny
the older might replace
or thought it was the queen alone
that ought the piper pay
the toll of war both far and near
taxes, famine, hunger, plague
failure of the soil,
physiocrats and financiers,
the moment of the world,
the stars, the gods or just plain fate
combined to make their beds
Many, for anything she'd done
might substitute a head.
But she was queen-and Austrian-
to let her live was foolish
someone had to be to blame
so better she should perish
Comments about this poem (Fifty Years On: for Bastille Day 2 by Morgan Michaels )
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