How Will The Republic Fall?

How will the republic fall?
A raging mob that storms the wall?
Waving Uzi and grenade?
Ransacking through some hallowed hall?
An edict from a balustrade?

Or will it be some mindless war
A tweet, an old unsettled score
A rage ignited
Insult that must be requited
With a brilliant flash, a distant roar
As cities, one then the next, go off
Like roman candles, vanish in a billowing cloud
The ash of buildings, bridges, lives
Falls like snow into the hand
Of the last one who survives
Our very world, our past
Falling like confetti from the sky,
Blown apart at last

Or is it this:
A famine sweeps across a plain
That offers only dust
Where once grew grain
One hundred million cars all fall to rust
Targets now of our blame
Awkward relics of our lust
And greed and shame
The land become a vast
And ghostly grave
Strewn with steel-frame skeletons
Of our wondrous past

Or will it be
Because we chose, of our free will,
A false Messiah to fulfill
A vain and senseless dream
To punish those who did us wrong,
Expel the ones who don’t belong,
Declare our greatness on live-stream,
Lead us through a heavenly door,
“Redeem us, Savior!  O redeem!”
And poof, the republic is no more.

For all we hold most dear, that seems
So permanent, so set
All the comforts of our world
Are in truth as delicate
As a glassy crust of ice
That forms upon an April night
In a rain-filled flower-pot
And melts off in the morning light



  1. I’ve decided to be my own first commenter here to share a few thoughts. I’m posting early as I’m off to join the march in Boston shortly. Apologies to those hoping for some comic relief. Poetry is a bad habit i have yet to entirely wean myself of. (And poetry that, “makes a statement” is perhaps most odious of all.) At least it gave me something to do other than pace, mumble to myself, weep, shout at the air, and despair (dammit, that rhymed again! now i’m serious trouble). Wishing you all a good day. – D.

  2. Very powerful. I am not much for poetry, but this spoke so eloquently about the fears so many of us have now. I don’t believe any of us ever thought we would live in a world where 140 characters might literally be the end of all of us. A beautiful and disturbing poem for the future. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Oops, feeling. I think poetry is a wonderful antidote (as is humor) to what passes for public discourse in this post-factual world. Poetry has a way of cutting to the core of what is important, and uniting people. I’m thinking of the lasting power of chants and protest songs.

    • thank you. protest songs, yes. poems….not sure. they occupy a pretty tiny space in the public mind. and that is not a complaint at all. it’s just reality. still, very nice to see that this one spoke to some people. thanks again.

  4. Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire, but if it had to perish twice I’d say that for destruction ice is also great, and would suffice. Robert Frost

  5. This was glorious indeed. While I love your musings for their wit and grace, this poetry was stupendous.Thank you, again for your wisdom and ability to help me concentrate on the work ahead.

Leave a Comment/Reply