the unconscionable dance in the canyons of power,
lined with megalithic buildings, the edifice complex
of the spin-meister’s lie, that the demigods can do
anything – anything – walking this asphalt valley

a parade, flailing lemmings trussed and trusting their
die-cut dreams to the pitiless whim of the military/
industrial/medical alliance, whose war-cries are of
greed and arrogance, believing they’ll live forever,
today’s sovereignty, tomorrow’s guarantee. But it’s

all delusion – cultures die and the hope-crushing
architects of cuts and austerity measures are like
the rich man in the Lazarus story, there’ll be
some kind of backlash, some kind of hell to pay …

“I believe terrorism cannot be won by the military action. Terrorism must be condemned in the strongest possible language. We must stand solidly against it and find all the means to end it. We must address the root cause of terrorism to end terrorism for all time to come. I believe that putting resources into improving the lives of the poor is a better strategy than spending it on guns.
Peace should be understood in a human way, in a broad social, political and economic way. Peace is threatened by unjust economic, social and political order, absence of democracy, environmental degradation and absence of human rights.

Poverty is the absence of all human rights. The frustrations, hostility and anger generated by abject poverty cannot sustain peace in any society. For building stable peace, we must find ways to provide opportunities for people to live decent lives..” Excerpt from Poverty is a Threat to Peace, Muhammad Yunus, Noble Peace Prize speech, 2006

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; photo credit, 1930 breadine sculpture at the FDR memorial courtesy of Peter Griffin, Public Domain

9 thoughts on “Some Kind of Hell to Pay

  1. Powerful poem Jamie . The bright side is that with all the connectivity that technology offers to us now, a counter narrative can indeed be set into motion . And what is happening here in this group is an example. You change one person’s attitude and fill his spirit with love for humankind, you change the way he will translate that to the next generation. Values, after all , are moulded by society. Tweak the twigs thinking of as many as you can with the tongs of love and we’ll have a fire going that will dispel the darkness in our hearts.

    I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to see Yunus in person and to have listened to him speak of his work in Bangladesh.

    Wish you more power Jamie.


  2. I’m reading this the morning after the Republican debate. The tone they used to eliminate terrorism is to aggressively invade and destroy. They think that communicating peace is a waste of time. They believe war is the answer.


  3. The ideas in the poem keep coming to my mind over and over again. Will they finally pay for all is done to people? As for the quotation, I wholeheartedly share this idea, and I admire Muhammad Yunus, his simple fantastic idea of micro-loans implemented so successfully. Thanks for this thought provoking material


    1. Irina, thank you for your read and response and Yes! Do so appreciate the work that Muhammad Yunus has done and think his philosophy is spot on. If only more people would get it. Wishing you every blessing, Irina. Jamie


  4. I think the pun in the phrase “the edifice complex” captures so much of the underlying “game” of the “power play”: The inheritance from Patriarchy (the Father), the Oedipal reach to overthrow the father who ruled over, the desire to occupy the father’s place…and all marked by edifices, thrones, monuments real and symbolic.


  5. I liked the poem and really liked the quote, Jamie. We can only hope that those rich bastards who give the marching orders will indeed have hell to pay when the piper comes to collect. I also think scilla is right – love and teaching/showing others how to love is the key. The absence of love leads to all manner of evils and horrors in the world.


  6. The US engages in terrorism via sanctions against nations that cannot produce their own food. The root cause? The desire for power. Carl Jung said, “Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.” Without love, there is definitely some kind of hell to pay.

    Liked by 1 person

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