How this thin veneer
divides the good from the bad
you know what you are

ruling precedent
with blind consensus will yield
a dumb herd of sheep

and who was it said
only the meek inherit
this is not the time

this is not the time
for humility and lambs
must stand up and grow

maybe there was life
once upon a distant time
when we were wise

when we were wise
before flood gates opened to

yield to avarice
and the common cause ends in
weakened hearts and souls

weakened hearts and souls
lost in things and may be found
only as we die

only as we die
would we find truth and renew
a desire for life

a desire for life
but not material things
will need clear insight

we’ll need clear insight
whilst tyranny is feeding
obedient lambs

by silencing the lambs
intimidators prevail
and life will perish

… but will life perish?
Maybe, maybe not. Dare we
sit and wait and see?

© 2017 John Anstie

Each of the stanzas of this poem has the physical structure of a haiku. Though not a proper haiku (not least because there are no ‘season’ references, with the possible exception of lambs – Spring? – I don’t think so! There are no ‘Kiru’ either). Anyway, I like the way the form forces you to be pithy; there’s even less room for unnecessary words than in other poetic forms. 

There is also, as you might expect, a portion of poetic licence … metaphor and allegorical reference. I have deliberately avoided punctuation until the last stanza, the punch lines, which are less equivocal.  In consequence, there are different ways in which this poem can be read. According to the way in which it is read, its interpretation can change, albeit sometimes subtly. Feel free to tell me about your interpretation.  Otherwise, I’m happy to allow knowledge of your personal understanding to join the many other sweet mysteries of life.

In conclusion, this poem asks questions.

Editor’s note: A version of the piece appeared earlier as a blog post.

© John Anstie

3 thoughts on “Silencing the Lambs

  1. There seem to be hints of other poetic forms in this, too, John! 🙂 I enjoyed this very much. As to the subject matter and meaning… maybe it takes being savaged by the wolves in sheeps’ clothing for the sheep to appreciate that they are not helpless when they have the greater numbers? You also make a good statement to be ever vigilant against the dangers of being blinded by idolatry of Self over others.

    Liked by 1 person

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