Today is the third Sunday of Advent, here is today’s poem, again the Czech follows the English:
Bags of silver coins change hands
For human lives from distant lands:
Some caught in war, some caught at crime,
Some could not pay their debts in time.
With chains on their bruised feet and hands,
Worth thirty silver to a man;
Some foolishly still dare to dream
That they could one day be redeemed.
But soon That Day will come.
Za mince stříbrné ve váčku z kůže,
ten, kdo chce, člověka koupit si může.
Válka či zločin, stihly je lapit,
některé neschopnost dluhy včas splatit.
Ruce I kotníky sedřené pouty,
kus můžeš za třicet stříbrných koupit.
Někteří snívají bláznivé snění,
že přijde den vykoupení.
Však brzy již vzejde ten den.
“Too fat! Too thin! Too glad! Too grim!
Too black! Too white! Too dark! Too light!
Too rich! Too poor! Too smart! Too sure!
How do you ever hope to gain a compliment from us?
“You mention our great enemy, yet not in pure disgust?
Here’s a list of things for you to do that might win back our trust.
Supporting last week’s noble cause? Have you no sense of shame?
This week’s outrage is what matters, this is not a game!
“Abase yourself for all the crimes your ancestors ignored!
(At least, according to the meagre records we’ve restored.)
Your shouts are far from shrill enough, denounce, denounce, denounce!
Or else it seems to us you’re one of them, by all accounts.”
I stumble from the pedestal no broader than a hair,
I’m trampled on by hundreds scrambling to climb up on there.
I stand and walk away from the shining razor blade
of their presumed approval, and as their voices fade,
I find, to my surprise, that the world doesn’t end.
This and other poems on the subject of wisdom, folly, everday and epic heroism and beauty can be found in Selected Verse – Heroes and Wonders
Over at Superversive SF, Amy Sterling Casil weighs in on the recent massacre in Paris:
All I will add is that this is yet another reminder, for those that need to be reminded, that freedom is neither free nor the default state of mankind. It is immensely costly, and those who enjoy the benefits of freedom the most are often the most isolated from and unaware of the daily sacrifices needed and made to preserve and defend it.
There are and have always been entities, groups and philosophies that hate freedom and given the opportunity will gleefully slaughter or crush the rest of us underfoot, whether we are innocent or not, and silence all dissent. My own father-in-law was imprisoned for handing out leaflets in favour of free elections, a friend of the family was imprisoned and tortured for close to a decade for being ‘too great a religious influence’. That regime is now thankfully gone, but there are many others like it, and many who pine for it to come back or for something similar to ‘succeed’ where it failed.
My gratitude and utmost respect goes out to those who each day put their lives on the line and do all they can to not give such people the opportunities they crave.