Said the Dove with Painful Flinches

The endless counted offenses
(Which the sane regard non-senses)
Reached the star-born Eagle
As he perched above.

'By words alone, you're violent,
'A Bigot and a Tyrant!'
Shouted from below him
Some who broke a weeping dove.

'I know not what you mean here,'
Said the Eagle to the hear-ers,
'You have had your say-so,
'And in your parties formed-

'Did you not demand acceptance?
'And has not your wish been granted?
'What more can I now offer?
'Why number yourselves scorned?'

Then came a lot of rabble
Which called for the dismantle
Of all sense we've made of nature
Since we left our cousins in the trees-

And that by Red exanguination,
Perish the protectors of our nation:
'For all the world's a chessboard-
'Black and White the colours seen!'

Said the Eagle to the Dove,
'Where went their talk of love?
'Of Justice and your peace?
'Why do you bloody-broken lie?'

'The wove our noose by inches,'
Spoke the dove with painful flinches,
'Spurred by the taste of copper,
'Brought the blood into the sky.

'For what began as "Equal Stations"
'Is now a demand for exaltation!
'That even nature, she should alter,
'If creation should offend.

'Now two and two make five,
'All labeled "hate" what they despise,
'And with victimhood, their cudgel,
'They have brought me to my end.'

And then Peace was torn to pieces,
Smoke had climbed the upward reaches
To the bewildered star-born raptor,
Stinging heart and stinging eye;

He looked upon the crowd,
All bloody, shrieking, jagged mouths,
And with a sigh he spoke
Perched beneath the red'ning sky:

'You've splintered and you've fractured
'In all the ways that mattered;
'By the very freedom gifted you,
'Like a Lunatic perverse -

'I'll leave you to your ends, and
'With your invented, feigned oppressions-
'May upon the Ash and Cinders
'Find the world that you deserve!'

Tommy R. Atkins, 2020


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