By Scott Bailey © 1999

I am the factory wall, despised and so defaced
Covered with graffiti, defiled and disgraced.
I am the concrete tower that holds up the concrete road
Bleak and faceless white, bearing my toxic load.
I am the bin on the street, bursting full with waste
Where rats and vermin crawl, around me in distaste.
I am the battered traffic cone abandoned in the hedge
A used forgotten prize of lives lived on the edge.
I am the street side gutter where dirty water flows
A place of infestation, where all the darkness goes.
I am the discarded knife with bloodstains on the blade
The close but unseen menace lurking in the shade.
I am the lofty tower spewing clouds into the air
That speed across the oceans, killing without a care.
I am the broken shelf with screws rent from the wall
That supported all the books and caused them all to fall.
I am the sodden cardboard box flapping in the street
Broken, limp, forgotten, always under feet.

Once I was a poet, bright-browed with golden-haired
Playing harp and singing, songs into the air.
Once I was a druid learning from the trees
Drawing strength from bark and wisdom from the leaves.
Once I was a warrior with proud and shining sword
Singing with my war-band a deep heroic chord.
Once I was a chieftain with princes round my hearth
Against war and cold and famine, our mighty hearts did laugh.
Once I was a king whose soul was all the land
Who tended all his people with a strong and generous hand.

But I made other people suffer
Now suffer myself in turn.
But as you wreak your vengeance
What lesson do you learn?

What lessons do you all forget?

Benjamin West [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Originally published in A Spring of Dreams

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

Twentieth Century Taliesin