Today's poem is by Christian Barter

People in History

They couldn't know the shame of their condition.
Their ridiculous dress. Their conspicuous lack
of plumbing and public transportation.
Their hopelessly benighted views
on diseases and the solar system.

The pride with which they gaze from paintings
is the pride of children in a pageant
who have just given birth to a doll.
They seem to think they have conquered the very thing
we now understand will ruin them completely.

They believed in gods that turned out to be broken statues.
They built walls that may as well have been picket fences.
They gave speeches we mainly remember now
for their apparently sincere dead metaphors.
And they are, of course, utterly hopeless:

their final dates now seal like royal wax
their last, deluded missives.
The only consolation that we have
is that they never saw it coming,
that they believed until the end

that rather than having found new continents
with all the genocides and revolutions
and trails of tears and endless breaking ground
that would have to follow such a thing,
they had merely found a back door to an old one.

Copyright © 2013 Christian Barter All rights reserved
from In Someone Else's House
BkMk Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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