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The Poets

September 11, 2009

The Beast that Vies

What motivates that crouching soul
Through twine and twig in evil stealth,
Where songs fall silent by its stroll
Amongst the desert’s commonwealth?

What dreadful- no! what wicked strife
Goes pouncing ‘long that barren plain
And seeks the vein of human life-
Rapacious, wond’ring there insane.

The bleeding grounds beneath its tread,
It calls from crimson dust that flies:
“Avenge the souls of all us dead,
And quit the vicious beast that vies.”

So now you tread the riddled steep,
And flee before the prickly air;
The desert floors that tossing sleep …
They praise the hunters by your lair.

-jwm


















Of the Poem:


I had this poem complete prior to this day, September 11th (the eighth anniversary of that tragic morning where nearly 3,000 human souls were lost). I specifically waited so that I might post it here as the poem refers to the perpetrators (murderers) of that sad, sad day.

It would be next to impossible to know the intended subject of this poem without commentary or a context. Without diminishing the subject I indented, I tried to loosen any literal aspects so that, should another mind read it, other possible meanings might manifest.

Evil, wicked, rapacious, insane, vicious … these predicates and more establish the poem’s attitude toward the beast, an attitude of extreme antipathy and condemnation. The beast spoken of here refers to the Taliban (the fundamentalist organization of Sunni Muslims who ruthlessly ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, and the source of the tragedies that occurred on 9-11).

Twine, twig, desert, barren plain, grounds, dust that flies, desert floors … these words are obscure allusions to Afghanistan. The riddled steep of line 13 is a reference to the mountain range of the Tora Bora (the place where the Taliban fled in the face of warfare).

The desert’s commonwealth alludes to the Northern Alliance who, although there were initially loose internal conflicts, united and fought against the Taliban.

Bleeding grounds and crimson dust depicts the unfortunate loss of life under Taliban rule- especially the vein of human life (i.e. innocent life). That loss is represented here as calling out for Justice, pleading that this vicious and contentious beast be put down. Those prayers would be answered in the form of a military coalition (the hunters) who would displace and topple the Taliban, forcing them to flee the country through the mountainous range of Tora Bora. Although those mountain heights are cold, prickly air actually was meant to depict the bombing campaign on that mountain range.

And so, with this brief commentary laid out, I hope the poem is enjoyed. Please, I would love to hear any different takes on it.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Most heartfelt and powerful. Thank you.

As of April 9th, 2010