Beware the Old Men…

 

…Bill Cosby. Bill O’Reilly.

Donald Trump.

Any male senator.

 

As if age,

as if self-righteousness

equal wisdom.

 

Sorry. Not that easy.

 

Aeschylus speaks

to us

through his Greek

chorus:

from suffering

CAN come wisdom.

 

How King Agamemnon

sacrifices

Iphigenia

his own daughter

for safe passage.

Leaves his wife

Clytemnestra

for nine years

to rescue

Helen of Troy.

 

Returns home,

trophy slave in tow:

beautiful Cassandra,

who knows of the

violence to come.

 

He will not listen.

 

His fierce wife

and her lover

slice up the king

and his young slave

with angry knives,

 

showing us

that we must

beware the anger,

that we create,

we old men.

 

Must look after

our own houses

first.

 

Published by

sanberdooboy

I've been writing mostly poetry for many years and have gotten a number of works accepted in publications and anthologies. I'm most interested in communicating with poets for whom craft is a high priority. I enjoy finding and commenting on poetic gems in other people's work. For my own work, I welcome polite comments, whether positive or critical.

11 thoughts on “Beware the Old Men…”

  1. Yes — “we must look after own houses first”. But it is so much easier to condemn others for their “poor house keeping” than to look closely at our own messes…I wonder if this might be a reason they work so hard to convince us of their questionable wisdom? I enjoyed the rhythm of this piece, and its firm root in mythological characters and tales. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. good point about how it’s so much easier to see the errors that others make. and it’s also too easy for us old men, i think, to fall into the trap of hubris. thanks for your insightful comments and for reading the poem. — michael

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    1. dajena, i’m glad that you liked the poem and especially the references to greek tragedy. the stories the greeks told are still as relevant as ever. unfortunately, i doubt if any of the three men mentioned at the beginning of the poem will ever understand aeschylus. thanks for your reply!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. kate, thanks for that thought. you are too kind!
      by the way, i just noticed that all of the commenters on this poem have been women, at least thus far. and that gets me to thinking that aeschylus’ tragic drama reveals how men sometimes use and even betray women. but also it reveals the wisdom (such as cassandra’s ability to see into the future) and strength women have to offer. after all, clytamnestra ran the kingdom by herself for nine years. such deep insights from a man who wrote who so long ago. –michael

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  2. I appreciate the historical scope at work here. Any opportunity to bring in the perspective of the Greeks is worthwhile in order to deepen an understanding of tragedy.

    “beware the anger, / that we create, / we old men.” With Brexit as just the latest example, beware the history too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i appreciate your comments. i am afraid that the poem re-tells too much of Agamemnon, but i also know that not many people in this country read greek tragedies, and far fewer see them. i’m still not confident in the aesthetics of the poem. absolutely “brexit” (do you hate that mash-up of a word as much as i?) shows again that we must beware. and i added trump, who embodies hubris, to the list of suspects after i had written the poem last year. we sit and watch him create havoc, don’t we?

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