Monday, 9 May 2016

Ode to a Foot Soldier

Across the modern world, freedoms are being whittled away by the very socio-cultural-religious and political forces that purport to support and endorse them; freedom of speech (cannot even agree to differ without causing offence in some quarters); freedom to assume whatever sexual identity we feel appropriate (as if gay or transgender folks have a choice…); freedom to protest, put our names to a legitimate petition or such documentation as may be considered ‘indiscreet’ by Intelligence sources (ask Julian Assange   …) etc. etc. etc.

In places like Saudi Arabia, young people risk crucifixion, for protesting against a vile regime which many western politicians and other leading figures like to cosy up to if only for its wealth and oil.

Whoever and wherever we are, we should never take what freedom we have for granted, but neither should we assume it is the last word in what freedom means; those freedoms we don’t have or any that are at risk will always be worth fighting for as and when required.

Have two terrible world wars taught so much of humankind so little about freedom?

'Wisely and slow, they stumble that run fast.' (Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet) a quote the EEU and the Arab Spring of 2011 would have done well to keep in mind...?


Weary, a foot soldier
forever trudging human highways,
byways, country lanes...

Maybe arrive by nightfall
or needs must press on till daybreak,
destination unknown

Under orders from a skylark
last seen soaring into a tearful dawn
(looking for Heaven?)

Apollo offers hope in time
to lighten the heartbeat, put a spring
in the loneliest step

Centuries-old aspirations
discarded on the slopes of Parnassus
recovered, read aloud

Where life no less precious
on highways, byways, country lanes,
find bitter-sweet poems

Human spirit, alive and well
among earthworms researching poems
of love, peace and war

Apollo, on visiting the grave, 
has been known to throw light on it all
among those who listened

Freedom, foot soldier, lives on 
in open minds and hearts of free spirits 
across time and space

Copyright R. N. Taber 2016

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