Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Shape of Things

Greetings - I hope real people are reading!!!

I read the article in The Guardian about the long lost poetical essay from Percy Bysshe Shelley, entitled The Existing State of Things.  The only known copy is on display by the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England.  It has been digitized and you can read about it and read the actual essay here !

Reading about it, I was certainly intrigued, as one if its themes is being anti-war.  Well, I finally got to read it and have to absolutely agree with The Bodley Librarian, Richard Ovenden, that: "The themes addressed by Shelley in Poetical Essay - the abuse of press, dysfunctional political institutions and the global impact of war - remain as relevant today as they were 200 years ago."  In some ways, it also reminded me (although written many, many years before) of Bob Dylan's Masters of War.  I wanted to see how Shelley handled the topic(s) and felt I was going to write something myself.  After reading it, I HAD to write.

So, not for comparison, please, but here is my own offering with nods to Shelley and also Dylan.  Read kindly, folks...

The Shape of Things

The shape of war

In contours of ominous fear-mongering clouds
In shadows of drones
In specters of tanks
In billowing gray smoke and spray of orange flames
Blood and tears result,
A tidal flow of grief

The shape of propaganda,
Seeking to mold minds
Seeking to still the mind’s questions
Seeking to numb the vision of eyes
As its lullaby cradles the public to sleep

The shape of surveillance
Shifting behind the security veil
Intent on reaching its tentacles into everyday lives
Seeing, knowing, analyzing
Sharing all its nebulous web can ensnare
While refusing to drop its cloak,
Its form only known from fleeting glimpses

The shape of shame
The convoluted logic of leaders who bend the law
And advisors who justify abuses
Faceless ones behind the scenes
Who give orders that lead to destruction and the loss of innocents
The glad hands and smiles
Which mask the role
Of those deceitful ones who supply war machines
Or enable surveillance

The shape of Freedom
Strong tree it has sometimes been
Can it stand against the winds that are supposed to keep it safe,
The rains of disbelief the tree could fall?

The shape of Peace
Battered and bruised
Outstretching a hand
Desperate for a healing touch
Only desiring ministrations enough
To resume ministering to others

The shape of the future
We cannot see as yet
We see shadows and pray
We pray the shadows will dissipate,
That the times still unfolding
Will be shaped with care (not cunning)
And we pray The Deity
For Wisdom, Grace, Protection
As the coming days take shape

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