for Adam Sedia[1]

But why against one poor poet, a hundred men?

                                    “Cyrano de Bergerac”
                                    Edmond Rostand

What dreams do come to distress needful sleep,
to cause me wakeful to take up my pen
and write by Roman candle light[2] of deep
portentous auguries that must needs frighten
vates[3] and seers bound the truth to keep?

Against my will, this fiendish nightmare bid
me mount and, bellicose, courses its night
journey towards a pillar of acrid,
smoth’ring smoke.  It commands me to alight
and witness that which pity ought forbid.

Upon this place of abomination,
Nero’s pleasure dome, I descend to view
diverse sinners in diverse damnation:
foolish, weak, confused, some few evil too;
gruesome aspects lit by conflagration.

Not to the damned but to that fiery light
my eyes attend, transfixed in horror.
For my visage I see, and on my right
and left fellow guildsmen, with mad furor
persecuted for the crime of Word-wright.

If burn we must, poets, then let us blaze
an incendiary light whose brilliance
sights oriel eyes while souls it parlays
into searing burning-bush radiance.
On truth as human torches, let them gaze.

(July, 2019)

[1]Crushed by the Leftist Juggernaut: One Lawyer’s Story,” by Adam Sedia.

[2] Cf. Nero’s Torches.

[3] Cumulatively or alternatively, a divinely inspired prophet, poet or oracle

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The featured image is “Nero’s Torches” (1876), by Henryk Siemiradzki, and is in the public domain, courtesy of Wikipedia.

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