“Only the dead have seen the end of war.” — Plato
“They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness.” — 2 Peter 2:15 (NIV)
You set me a riddle of romance,
Kindly Moon, a beguiling trap
by the waters of Babylon
where Cartier trinkets line
red-bowed caskets made in China
riding on Charon’s ferry
by the waters of Babylon
where I hung up my Guccis
like spangled semaphores
testifying to the Sinai fire
on a holy mountain while
sipping Florentine wine in D.C.
You sent me a Utopian dream
of Jerusalem under kindly eyes
before my breakdown,
where I dwelt perennial
in the tongues of state
-craft, sightless as a stone
gargoyle with carbonized
hate, when home after home,
city after city I visited, inflaming tribal
sigils, leavening in unguarded hearts
dystopias in abandoned strollers,
palaces of discontent, malodorous
diffusion, contentious, disfiguring.
So now I frame you, with Pyrrhic ruins,
dead-to-rights from my watery
bier with the very crimes
you silver-framed me
in Chicago (Kabul or Kiev)
where all roads meet
with a gunshot and a cry.
*The October full moon is known in China as the Kindly Moon.
Sarah at dVerse's Poetics asks us to "moon around," inspiring us with a list of the names for the moon including the Chinese "Kindly Moon." Shay's Word Garden Word List tunes the notes of this apostrophe to the silver queen of the night.
13 thoughts on “Balaam To the Kindly Moon”
Beautifully written Dora
Wow, some great images here. I like the way you mix ancient phrasing and imagery with modern culture – it really made me stop and think.
This is an amazing piece of poetry and the ending makes me cry!
Dark piece Dora but still very interesting. Fascinating may be a better word I enjoyed this excellent write.
So many references to cities that are going through a lot. Looking towards Christ
Dora, you have described the arc of every dictator and every movement that traded on empty promises and inflamed hate to rise to power, not realizing the truth that evil contains the seeds of its own destruction. The horrifying part is, they don’t go down alone, and everyone they come into contact with pays a price. Blood will have blood, as Macbeth could tell you.
Rich and detailed and figured as lovingly with words as a tapestry or fresco adorning some ancient palace–a sense of time and the continuum of power and folly which is our history relentlessly expounded like a seer, if seers looked back for their secrets.
An exquisite poem and great way to use Shay’s word list!!!
Powerful concluding lines where all roads meet with “a gunshot and a cry”.
I agree with Shay. You so brilliantly write the path of destruction dictators create with their bloated forks feeding on power. With each bite they bring suffering, no one is safe.
Love the journey you take us through the darkness of humankind… the kindly moon sounds oxymoronic, but maybe she can only watch what we are doing, how we are dying.
Well done, Dora! The Kindly Moon shines over a dysfunctional, conflicted world that seems intent on destroying itself at the hand of little tyrants with delusional egos!
Anything but kindly, rather a silent witness! Dora, a very powerful write on the dystopian times down the ages.