In the gilded halls of the lush royal palace,
Portraits and busts of illustrious men,
Adorn the gardens and marble fireplaces,
But those of their wisdom no longer reign.
Withered are the founding principles,
Replaced by the capriciously whimsical,
The lofty values once held so dear,
Have been succeeded by ills and fears.
Power is now in the hands of the fickle,
Authority is delegated to the complacent,
The haughty, the greedy and the decadent,
Have squandered a kingdom crippled.
In the grand ballroom: The king fetes,
Masked aristocrats laugh and dance,
And as rose petals are strewn like confetti,
Slender courtesans steal lascivious glances.
Across the realm, there is plague and famine,
But inside, only measured gaits and singing,
Silver platters of oysters and quail are served,
And imports of silk and tea eagerly reserved.
The sly court favorite reclines upon the throne,
As the frivolous king is nowhere to be seen,
The favorite acts as if the world were his own,
Ministers dare not reveal how the realm careens.
Quaffing wine, the malicious magistrate judges those,
Guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time,
“The law is clear-you are guilty of many many crimes!”
Patting his coffers, he then said, “You know how it goes.”
Everywhere, burning discontent was rumbling,
Harvests were failing and commerce collapsing,
Forlorn refugees streamed towards the capital,
Driven by decay and corruption most abysmal.
Then, swifter than bloodhounds, came The Deluge.
City after city were mired in their scorching ire,
Like circling vultures, from them there was no refuge,
They plundered while wielding iron and fire.
The cruel garrisons long accustomed to abusing,
A weak and meek populace without any feeling,
Were swept away by swarming hordes so fierce,
Even stone walls and steel gates were swiftly pierced.
“Your Grace!” Cried the disheveled news bearer,
“The borders have fallen!” He said as he tremored,
“The enemy hordes …..three days ride from here!”
“Everyone has fled or deserted……do you hear!”
The king fell to his knees and cried to the sky:
“Where are my generals, most loyal and able!?”
And as he wailed there came an old scribe,
He was white of hair and older than the king’s cradle.
“You had virtuous men with you when you ascended,”
“But you did not pay heed and rewarded the evil.”
“Your forefathers have always warned: Obey Heaven,
And be blessed ; disobey and be smited by the Devil!”
All rights released into Public Domain
Copyright © Brian Chung | Year Posted 2016