Since you ask, I’ll answer your questions–
But I’ve only a moment: Yes.
It’s all I expected
By now I’ve been trained
learned my lesson well–
in this era of tolerance, it’s still safer
not to speak your mind.
I thought they were my friends
more still my comrades
united in perspective and purpose.
But when it was time to rise up
demand justice, speak truth
They sank deep into their seats,
tried to look oblivious or not at liberty
or else disapproving, even knowing better.
I looked the fool–is that what they wanted?
There was a dragon at the door–
threatening to burn the house down
with fiery, smoking sneer
Was he their true friend, or do they
fear him more than they love–love what?
You don’t know either.
I tried to warn them–
When I came away singed having stood by myself
they all should have known!
Everyone would have been better off
if I had been wrong
or–things would have been easier–
but I wasn’t.
And still the dragon sits.
You hear him too.
He’s made another foray, into the vestibule,
the altar shudders with the pounding of his
weighted, claw-tasseled steps
and the temperature has risen 17 degrees.
I’m putting on my armor and preparing a proclamation
but I won’t hold my breath.
Though the ranks have shifted,
the command changed sleeves,
the character is the same–
the fear is endemic, in their nature.
I’ll sally forth as I must
but I know this to be true:
He who would take a stand, must stand alone.
I’ve done it before; I’ll have to do it again
and trust I won’t fall before friendly fire
as my comrades unwittingly ally themselves
to the furnace-like nemesis.
He never has to do much, really,
because they do it for him.
The house divided–how can it shield itself
against his breath?
Do they believe in dragons?
Yet not know one when they see it?
Perhaps they can’t recognize him,
don’t see his bulk, his scales, his spiny ridge,
his great webbed ears and springbok horns,
don’t see his uneven fangs and claws of adamant–
still surely they must feel the heat!
But in the council chamber
you’d think I was mad for wanting him out
wanting to meet him face to face
and tell him to Get Lost!
Better to let the house burn down than make him angry!
But…wait…what is he doing here anyway?
If you can explain it, tell me quick before
I go in to meet him
I should like to know why I’ll be the only one,
thus the necessity of being reduced
to a heap of ashes.
But God help me, I can do no other–
my conscience won’t give me peace
if I just sit down
if I just walk away
like everyone says.
All I asked was that they
do the right thing.
But they don’t know the choice exists–
that here there is right and wrong.
They try to hold me back–why?
Why not just come with me?
Maybe we’d come back alive
but even if not, at least
our epitaphs would be worth reading.
And so I look the fool, I get told off–I am lectured,
and in the end, I still must do it!
I should have expected this–
isn’t it always the way?
But I’ll let you go now–
the dragon is waiting
and this heat is unbearable.