Burning cold beneath the stars,
The screams of anguish fill my ears.
What fell deeds fall this blackest night
While stilled by sleep, we flee our fears?
Another soul is laid to waste,
Another lover left to die,
Betrayed by cold deceitful vows,
A promise made, laid bare a lie.
And murder rampant in the streets
Bids wary travelers arms to bear
As jackals close for easy meat
And knives flash in the evening air.
Shall I sit locked in a daze,
As before my eyes dishonor laughs?
If only were it in my place,
With cold true dagger I'd voice the wrath
Of all betrayed by treacherous words
Boldly sung by pale moon's eye,
And those who perish for sport or gain,
Felled by those who care not why,
For those whose gods bid "serve thyself,"
With no concern for fellow man
Shall sip your marrow with lustful grin
And eat the flesh of human lamb.
Ye tyrant sitting on your throne,
Ringed around by gate and wall,
Such dark oppression we have known
While sup ye at your lofty hall.
You drink the blood of innocents
From crystal cup and smiling sit
As your brother by the gutter
Drinks the sap of throats fresh slit.
Wretched whore of Babylon!
The pearls and sapphires that you wear,
Are eyes of men plucked out for love,
And for the figure that you bear.
Blood spills for your thoughtless whims
As by the mirror you stand to gaze
Upon your proud, disdainful face
While in the courtyard, trumpets blaze.
What do you know of death and woe
As you push another pawn?
You veil your deeds with pious words
And pray your sheep will still look on.
O fly you Furies, to your work!
Infernal crones of flame, descend
And to the minions of deceit
Mete a grim and bloody end!
Shades of darkness, lend your chill.
For vengeance raise your spectral hand,
And as Death's angel beckons you,
Purge this desecrated land!
Scourge this earth, O flames of wrath!
Rout the wicked where they lie!
Lick the evil from our veins;
Our tarnished spirits purify.
All is still at the palace;
Sentries slumber at their posts.
The pallid moon smiles chill upon
The king's besot and sleeping host.
Sitting warm beneath the stars,
As a dark-clad figure slips
Into the royal bedchamber,
A smile usurps my knowing lips.
I cannot sleep this tender night;
The air about my cell does cry
Of that sweet and bitter rose,
The flame of retribution flies.
A shriek of terror from the king
Who slept upon his silken bed,
A drawn dagger in the dark
Has laid the tyrant cold and dead.
George Chadderdon © 1994