Earlier this week, I posted about the Peace Project Judy Fisk Lucas is putting together. The prolific, terrific J. Patrick Lewis shared his submission for the project with me and graciously agreed to let me post it here.
The Rules of History
The fatter the king, the thinner the serf.
The longer the reign, the duller the pain.
The stronger the crown, the weaker the law.
The fainter the dream, the slimmer the hope.
The darker the night, the deeper the fear.
The blacker the skin, the whiter the hate.
The colder the sin, the hotter the fire.
The taller the tree, the thicker the rope.
The bigger the bomb, the quicker the dead.
The meaner the fight, the smaller the prize.
The older the grudge, the keener the wrath.
The higher the rent, the shorter the lease.
The weaker the foe, the shriller the cry.
The louder the lie, the further the truth.
The madder the war, the sadder the foes.
The wiser the peace, the wider the peace.
–J. Patrick Lewis, all rights reserved
I love its relentless rhythm, which feels as old as war itself, and the if-then or juxtapositions on every line. And I love that last line, which somehow satisfies the rhythm, but breaks it as well with it unexpected lack of conflict! Exactly what we need in this world! Thank you, Pat, for letting me post this.
|J. Patrick Lewis’ next book, THE UNDERWEAR SALESMAN: AND OTHER ODD JOBS FOR BETTER OR VERSE, comes out March 10 from Atheneum. I’m sure it will be full of brief poems (heehee) and great for a laugh. If you loved World’s Greatest: Poems and Once Upon a Tomb: Gravely Humorous Poems, I bet this book will be right up your alley! And really, what better way to peace than through laughter?
If you’d like to submit a piece for the Peace Project, please note that the deadline has been extended to March 30 (whew, since I only have a rough draft)!