Thursday, May 17, 2012

Water or Meat

Stretched out on your back
on the side of the road
with nothing to protect you
from the bone-chilling cold
but your tattered red coat
and worn boots on your feet,
you hear a voice whisper,
“Water or meat?”

You struggle to focus
and turn your head to
see the old man
looking down at you.
He steps closer and
drops down to one knee
to ask you again,
“Water or meat?”

Around you, ragged soldiers
trudge on through the morning,
each one assuming the others
must know where they are going.
Former rebels now faced
with the uncertainty
that comes from no longer
having an enemy.

Few chose to stay behind
in the court of the king
who once rose by the sword
but then fell to its sting.
Out of his robes,
the king was just an old man;
beneath crimson satin
were sallow flesh and weak hands.

Your own hands are cold;
your lips so chapped they bleed.
You lack the strength
to voice what you need.
As the old man leaves you,
your tears freeze on your cheeks.
The ragged army moves on.
Winter is unkind to the weak.

Copyright (C) 2012 by Eric Landuyt


  1. I really like the rhythm of the first stanza, especially the end of it. I think that's something. I think rhythm is the hardest part of a poem to make look/sound good, and if one does not, it can sound kind of doofy.