Kings and Vipers: A Poem

As a writer, I hope that I am adept at observing and communicating truths about life and the world we live in. One of my favourite things to do when writing is to take an observation or emotion I have experienced, and translate it into a whole other setting. For example, many of my World War II poems (such as I Wish you Well, my Lonely Friend) are inspired by my own sense of nostalgia and memories of all the things I’ve loved. I constructed the following poem with something of a mythological medieval theme; and although it is bitter and depressing it speaks to the pervasive greed and selfishness that I see in the world. Although it’s one of my unhappier pieces, I hope that it is accurate in its meaning and that you will appreciate it.

Kings and Vipers

Poison from the mouths of vipers

Is there a more insidious thing?

It mires the ground and dirties

Even the air you’re breathing

And as they smile, their venom seeps

Unseen until it strikes the heart

No antidote til the hour is late

Death will be your counterpart.

Vipers held by chains of flattery

These beasts do nought but follow

The sick designs and whims of kings

Whose own lives are so hollow

That they delight in pilfering

All the gold and light from others’ eyes

Sat safe in gilded rooms they are;

While the kingdom, weakened, dies.

These glorious kings and their vipers

Believe each lie they have spoken

Their greed a venom from their own veins

That renders virtue broken.



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