The King, to the Poet
Something happened, when no one was looking.
Quietly, politely, we tore it all down–
Ages old, majestic and mighty, we tore it down to build something new.
Shiny and new.
It was a tapestry once, that told a story around which we built our lives.
It was a mighty whole, a single fabric, built of myriad mysterious pieces.
With the blessing of all (or all but the fringe) we took it apart.
We took the shiny pieces and the pretty pieces and the useful pieces
And put them to work,
Doing our bidding (we once did its), and serving us in strength.
We marvel then at what our lives have become,
All built of artificial fibers and synthetic materials.
And what of that old rag, that ancient tapestry?
It’s tatters now, of course, torn to shreds and threadbare
All that’s left behind.
And those same who plundered it now mock it for all the things it lacks.
For all the holes, for all the inconsistencies and flaws–
For gaps, that they had made.
There are gaps, and holes. Places where things once were,
Where things shiny and things pretty and things useful used to be.
It’s not the rag that’s torn, though.
The single piece is shattered, scattered, but its fragments still as strong.
Alas, they no longer grow as one.
You see, it was a living thing. It breathed the life of man.
We killed it, for our own ends — butchered it, for our wealth.
We took its intellect, to make us wise.
We took its heart, to learn some sort of kindness.
We took its soul, to give us more than life.
We took its might, its powers, its strength to change the world, and we made the world we wanted.
We still have all the pieces, and look how much they change our lives.
We killed the thing to get them, though.
We could start anew, of course. Some have tried.
We could make a new fabric, and start the ages-long process of giving it life,
Weave in the first of many threads, and make a gift to our descendants.
We’re a world of scavengers, though.
We’ve made our lives out of plundered parts now, and we’re not about to stop.
Start another if you want. It can be done.
But I’ll tell you this, my prophecy and sigh:
And they’ll point and laugh,
They’ll criticize everything that is not what the old thing was.
Then they’ll take everything that’s good, and mock you all the more.