Anti-Sestina: Abstractions

Bizarre, it is, how all things change! This life,
At once so sturdy & quite certain, death
Creeps up on, woos & marries; just so love,
In ignorant youth, pursues at first what hate
Will make it shun in age; & total war,
Its shock & awe, preferred to partial peace?

Yes, ploughshares turned to swords, uneasy peace
Or times of violent chaos rule our life.
No guarantee or truce can end a war
Which breeds & prides itself in terms of death,
Disaster, slaughter & the rest, whilst hate
Exultant tramples all, supplanting love.

Or does it? Through the rubble, unquashed love
Sprouts up again, & blooms in glorious peace!
And memories fade or morph, forgetting hate
Was ever on the throne ?A most-strange life,
An intermittent, casual dance of death
Undead, a civil & uncivil war.

A joke, perhaps, then? Merely words like war
And abstract virtues, vices? No true love
Can triumph when the odds of random death
Are stacked against the clichés born of peace
Too insubstantial? Fine melds & blends of life
Cannot compete with too substantial hate.
Like water through a fallen bridge, hate
Flows on, pollutes, transmutes us into war
Infected by society's rules, real life
Is not as it appears, perhaps? Is love
Designed or chance? Does placid peace
Migrate by slow degrees to easeful death?
What happens, happens. Deconstructing death,
Constructing mere abstractions, futile. Hate
Is never cured, just palliated by a peace
Which stumbles, staggers, falls again to war,
Whilst no one can pretend that perfect love
Exists, nor is the central aim of life?

All fractured chessmen: death, his brothers war
And hate, our black-squared doom; the whites of
And peace absolve or coincide for life.

L. A. Barron


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