A Poem Thing: Four Columns

Our columns are crumbling and we will all perish. Our nation implodes around us, but no one seems willing to stop it. And so the great Democracy experiment ends at last.

Four Columns

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

We stand in a great hall supported by four huge columns.

 

Truth

Justice

Equality

Honor

 

Colossal in height, enormous in strength, radiant in beauty.

Columns meant to support our roof for eternity.

But those columns have not been cared for.

 

Paint peels with each passing year.

We ding them and pepper them with bullet holes.

Long cracks run from ceiling to floor.

 

I wish I could put my arms around them.

Hold them together by sheer force of will.

Someone ties a flag around one, but it’s a poor bandage.

 

And then there is him. He’s bigger than us. He grasps a hammer in one hand.

He takes aim at Justice, strikes a heavy blow.

Yellow-white hair flies back as he howls.

 

What has Justice done to you, I cry, but my voice is lost.

He turns to Truth and strikes again and again.

One blow can’t bring down the mighty column—but he doesn’t strike just once.

 

Stop, I cry, rushing forward, but held back by the heavy mass of others between us.

I scream at them, pummel them with my tiny fists, spit arrows at them…

No one cares. No one listens, and he turns the hammer on Equality.

 

WE WILL ALL PERISH IF YOU LET HIM CONTINUE!

But they don’t stop him, and I wait for the damage to climax, the roof to collapse.

And when it comes, it is Honor that falls first.

 

It makes sense. Truth, Justice, Equality—all can take a beating from him.

But each blow on one of them also damaged Honor, and it crumbles at last.

It topples the others, too.

The End of the World? Don’t Hide. Live Better.

Today I’m not going to write about the news stories that are terrifying and saddening the entire world. I’m not going to talk about the innocent victims or possible solutions or call for gun control or better care for the mentally ill, although I think those things are well worth discussing. I’m writing because it seems the world has gone mad, and I feel a need to ask you all not to let the end of the world become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This is what has haunted me ever since I heard about the end of the Mayan calendar and how many millions of people actually harbor some belief that Friday will be the end of the world: What if it’s not? What if God has no intention of ending the world on Friday, but as the “end” that we have prophesied for ourselves approaches, people go mad and society destroys itself? What if we ruin our world and kill each other and those who survive have a world no longer worth living in?

The holiday season always brings out the madness in people. It enhances the divide between those who have so much and those who have nothing. I believe this holiday will be even worse than usual and that’s why I’m writing. This holiday, I’d like to encourage everyone to think a little bit about your neighbors. Do they have enough to make their Christmas merry? Do they have someone in their lives to love or are they alone? Reach out and shake someone’s hand or leave a small gift for someone you think might not get something this season. If you’re not comfortable with that personal approach, give something to your local Food Bank or other charity.

I plan to do some soul-searching today to think about what I can do this season. I want to go a little beyond what I usually do. I want to try to make a real difference this year. I don’t know if the Mayan calendar means anything or not. I don’t honestly think we can predict the end of the world. What I do know is that nobody’s tomorrow is ever guaranteed, and if we don’t try to make a difference today, we may never get a chance. After all, where would you rather be if God comes down to judge us? Helping someone in need or hiding in a Doomsday bunker?