Wednesday, February 18, 2009

29 Poems - 18

(This is a work in progress, so if you can think of anything I missed, please feel free to tweak me with a comment.)

Tragedy 101

I kill a stranger at a dusty crossroads,
An incident that does not plague my mind
Until I learn my wife’s not just his widow --
She is my mother, and my heart was blind.

The gods above demand an act of vengeance:
When wife kills husband, son must raise the knife.
But when I spill the lifeblood of my mother,
Furies will hound me till I take my life.

My husband stole me from my father's kingdom;
Now he's determined to put me aside.
If he should kill our love just to remarry,
I'll slay our children and his pretty bride.

I kill the man who could have been my father.
To cherish honor over blood is wise.
I say, “This is a sacrifice, not murder.”
He says, “You too, my son?” and then he dies.

I sell my soul to Satan to gain knowledge,
But wisdom is as rare as abstinence;
And when my debt comes due, I cry to heaven:
“Will God forgive a devil who repents?”

A ghost tells me to kill my father’s killer.
I kill the father of my love instead.
Fate rules us all; no choice but to accept it.
And once I do, four people end up dead.

I kill the man who treated me like family.
My wife can’t wash his blood from her white hands.
My best friend’s ghost will haunt me till I join him.
Kings follow kings; death is what death demands.

I kill my wife because the whore is guilty.
The proof I have comes from my dearest friend
Who used my trust to fan my jealous passion
Till white was black, love hate, and death the end.

My favorite daughter wrongs me; I disown her.
My other daughters are two vipers fanged.
The gods kill us for sport; I do not know it
Until I learn that my poor fool is hanged.

I sell things for a living, but it’s over --
I was the king once; now I play the pawn.
The son I love despises me for living.
Only my wife will mourn me when I’m gone.

So has it been, so will it be forever:
The gods will say, “Do this or else you’re dead.”
And when you do, instead of Heaven’s blessing,
Those same gods put a price upon your head.

Wise man or fool, old man or little baby;
King, queen, or peasant; husband, child, or wife --
Say yes or no, deny or worship Heaven:
You’re doomed no matter how you live your life.

copyright 2009 Matthew J Wells

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