The Song of Atlantis
The following poem is an excerpt from my newest book, “The Blue Book of Poetry and Life”. Enjoy!
Twinkling at the bottom of the sea
A continent of antiquity
Is falling from memory,
Dying the slow death
That follows much of history.
Thou art as mythology swallowed up by the Blue,
The legends and stories are what’s left of you,
From the height of your glory
To the nadir of your debauchery,
Hubris and the divine punishment.
What below the surface of reason
Is the urge to surpass Earth and Heaven
— to achieve wealth and status,
Become superior over the rest of us —
A thirst for comparison restless and unquenchable,
To be above the waves that sweep
People to destitution without restitution,
Drag themselves into debt’s deep
Snare without revolution?
Zeus’s wrath against you
Cast you into the watery hell where villains lie,
Turned your existence into a fable where evil dies,
Into a cautionary tale for all future civilizations,
So that in that way they too do not fail
Nor be plunged into Oblivion:
Justice must prevail,
Which all the while sent you into the nightmare
Of Eternal Sleep and the gnashing of teeth —
A fate for you about which those who know you still weep,
Much like Abraham who appealed to God,
Even for Sodom and Gomorrah, I plead:
“Show pity if there is but one person
Who is righteous!
If you find one among them
Who is good there!
Remember them and show mercy!”
But Atlantis, you are different:
You and your inhabitants
Were once a country of noble men,
Where science and technology,
Philosophy and morals — spirituality —,
Even in governance,
Beyond the imaginations
Of your descendants.
But alas, you
Could not prevent
The judgment of Zeus,
Who saw your abuse.
Neither could his brother Poseidon,
Whose son Atlas was once your king:
All the world could do
Was bear witness
To the suffering
To be inflicted upon those who
Squandered the favor and blessings
Of the gods and heroes of Olympus,
Who had once vouched for Atlantis
With their clout and power and honor.
A promise was broken
Between gods and men,
Between men and each other:
Neither the immortals nor their neighbors
Granted forgiveness to the Atlanteans.
A standard had to be established for all people,
A statement of the prime example,
A decree for future countries
To be followed as the principles of their rule:
Be fair and honest in your dealings
As nations and as men,
Between gods and governments,
With your enemies and creditors, and your friends.
Forgoing the respect and dignity
You must expressly give to your fellow men,
Whether you or he live on a dunghill
Or dwell in the perfect city:
Betrayal is a treacherous sin.
You will eventually reach them,
The ones above Nature
Who are its masters;
Be asked pressing questions
That you must answer
In order to progress
Toward joy or to disaster.
Who you are does not matter.
Fortune tugs on everyone’s souls:
That our daily choices decide our system of ethics,
For both the individual and for societies as a whole:
Leading us either to piety and righteousness,
Or to drowning forever in the hellish abyss