of sticks and stones and bombs and drones

“Tis The Season”

The voice of a thousand bells rang out with hope
that winter’s day. Bright colors warmed the snow
and the pallid sun strove to melt hearts. Peace
be upon you and all of yours in this time of strife.
For it is said that one shall come to share our ritual.
Glad tidings for some, but others remained cold.

Speech would not fill empty bellies, nor heat cold
rooms. For the poor and desperate, little hope
in empty promises. Had many a century of ritual
and still the land groaned under tyranny. Snow
drifted high and blame placed on the rich. Strife
was now the norm, black looks instead of peace.

Soldiers marched, steel swords kept fragile peace.
Riven with dissension, leaders thoughts grew cold
and harsh. Crushed beneath edicts, grim strife
erupted. All through the night flares alight, hope
blazed and consumed. Come daybreak, the snow
stained red. Too many were given last rites ritual.

Hollow eyes and paupers graves, the empty ritual
of death. The silence felt in town after town, peace
at last, for no one left. The earth, covered in snow
lay dormant. Spring, far way on this biting cold
day, would return once more. The sense of hope
had been crushed, but still cause for more strife.

Change would come, forced from below. Strife
channeled into words and deeds. Codified ritual
replaced heredity, slowly the actions gave hope.
A concept not readily grasped, perceived peace
to be weak. Throughout the long, dark night, cold
plots designed. Strike they would, in melted snow.

At last the heated rays revealed fresh green. Snow
had gone and with the warming earth, false strife
commenced. Old ways and new corruption. Cold
calculations yielded poor harvests for the ritual
of change had sprouted deep roots. At last peace
and prosperity had replaced the longing of hope.

No longer a burden was snow, but a blessed ritual.
No more harsh strife, but harmony and peace.
No longer starved and cold, but a future of hope.

Despite my deep knowledge of conflict throughout recorded history and the mind numbing headlines of today, I am an optimist – despite all evidence – that one day there will be peace in our times.

For d’Verse Open Link Night poetry pub.


49 thoughts on “of sticks and stones and bombs and drones

  1. A very poignant sestina Brian, well written and so well suited the repeated mistakes throughout history. Here is hoping with you, for peace. Also hoping you and your family will stay safe with Matthew.


  2. So well written. This is intense, a clear picture of the pain and sorrow of war and violence. We have to have faith and hope for better days…all part of our human spirit.


  3. I admire the sestina as it is a very challenging form to write Brian ~ Love the positive ending, specially the last 3 lines ~ I have hope too and I share optimism for a better future ~


  4. Oh boy am I learning some stuff tonight. Never heard of sestina as a form so will investigate that next. The words you put on the screen were powerful and true and I have come to the conclusion that the only peace to be found is within and that is so tricky when there is so much going on without.


  5. The voice of a thousand bells rang out with hope

    A great positive opening and a great sestina Brian!. One just feels helpless with so much violence glaringly being offered. Those who imposed them are let off which is sad. The world can only hope, yes!



  6. This sestina is deeply evocative of world history, but we live world history today, right now. That you show the horror but end on a hopeful note is the hope of humanity. A terribly moving poem.


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