The Letters of the Law


Poem Commentary

* Author's note: I wrote this as part of a poetry class I teach online. We're studying abecedarian forms where you begin each line or stanza with a different letter of the alphabet - like an acrostic, but a bit harder thanks to the Q, X and Z. One of the earliest and most well-known abecedarian poems is found in Hebrew Scripture - specifically, Psalm 119. Try one yourself, it's great poetical exercise. I invented the adding a syllable per line form used here and layered over the a,b,c line format. - Tom

The Letters of the Law

An Abecedarian by Tom King (c) 2012

At the
Cold fangs and teeth
Death the punishment
Every sin's consequence. 
Fight or flight should you rebel 
Gods of stone arose,whose priests claimed
Heavy-handed blood sacrifices
Incantations, homage to holy men
Jibber, mutter and perpetuate a fraud
Kingly privilege upheld by crude ritual.
Laws of love, forgotten since creation could set free.
Men and women bound, with chains of stone and gold and silver.
None remembering the law each carries writ upon the soul.
On every heart formed in every womb that bore a son or daughter.
Proof enough, the signature of the Law Giver waiting love's waking
Quickened at the mountain, carved first in stone, then in blood and bone
and sinew,
Risen again a living law, every man, woman and child the law breathing.
Still and small transforming from the inside out and not with brute force from outside in.
The law from which springs life and peace and hope was always there, waiting patiently for us
Until we found it, or it found us , transformed us, not into what it wanted us to be but
Verily into what we are without the baggage of the laws meant to oppress and enslave.
We are servants of a law that sets us free, that we may be beautiful, kind, patient, wise and good.
X-ing out the laws that bind us in the darkness, restoring the indwelling law we know already. 
Yet still we are creations children, though for a time we had forgotten the blessings of the ancient law.
Ziggurats, temples, pyramids, blood altars, steles and graven stone, the corpses of old lies by love defeated.

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Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.

Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC) Greek philosopher.

twayneking’s Poems (38)

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