Monday, 1 August 2016

Olympic Games OR Old Gods, New Gods, and the Rest of Us

[Update (July 21, 2016): Congratulations to Team GB and everyone taking part in the Rio Olympics. As for those nasty people who targeted Tom Daley for homophobic abuse, I can only echo J. K. Rowling; I am not sure which is more offensive, the stupidity or the spite. Some religious groups especially need to get real; their founders would be appalled. I do not subscribe to any religion, not least because I find it too divisive and closed-minded where religion should be the very opposite, acknowledging that our differences neither put us in the wrong nor make us different, simply human. Moreover, I came to this conclusion before I realised I am gay. One of my You Tube videos makes the same point:  
Needless to say, I received a number of offensive emails after posting it.]

Now, leaders of every society like to play games with its citizens and today’s poem was written in 2000; it has nothing (directly) to do with the Olympic Games. Even so, here’s wishing good luck to everyone participating in the Rio Olympics and upholding humankind’s finer qualities of fair competition and mutual respect among winners and losers alike. To win a medal is, of course, a wonderful achievement, but as wonderful if not more so is the thrill of taking part, an incomparable memory to share and treasure over a lifetime.

If the poem invokes a sense of society falling into moral and political well as economic decay, hopefully the feeling rarely lasts; it only takes events that embrace the human spirit of the Olympic Games to raise our hopes once more and make us realise there is (far) more to life than any judgmental take on it will ever suggest.

Even so, let's not forget how Greek mythology would have us believe the old gods got up to all sorts of mischief on Olympus; all work and no play…

Mount Olympus, Greece


What will be, will be,
in this century as others gone before;
wealth and poverty, a sick lottery
of love and hate, peace and war invariably
played out by tin gods with humankind
and everything to play for, bearing in mind
(of course) that who dares wins,
no matter what their sins, and losers
will always cast the first stones
before they will admit being taken in
by substitute icons

Olympus, alive and well on Capitol Hill,
humanity, in free fall…

Copyright R. N. Taber 2001; 2016

[Note: This poem has been slightly revised and an alternative title added (2016) since it first appeared in Love and Human Remains by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2001; rev. ed. in –format in preparation.]

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