The Culture (poem)

Posted by ractrose on 24 Nov 2021 in Art, Poems

Oil painting of abandoned farmhouse




The Culture


We are important

Our three-letter alphabet

Constructs our limited language

The gravitational center

Draws our attention-seeking message

The message is

I am important

Yet you don’t know me


On an oxbow

The current passes

A fallen tree, submerged

At a cross-angle, green murky-brown

Depths, hot from the sun

The surface still, gnats rise

Kingfishers, blackbirds, bank swallows

The river has right-of-way


Its current carved the land

Many more miles long

Than the eye can see

Landholders, granted degrees

On the bank, exchanged in principle

The ornamental alloy



Leaf, sharp, continuing, underhand

Wheeling gears, dying in prison

The message

Is a low-rate postcard

Issued by the government

One follows, the other is drawn behind


A fuse, a wreck

The weight of gold

The magnitude of moral conduct

Floods the bank and leaves behind

Slippery oil, combustible

Where is your confident belief?

Your commitment and your care?

You have competition

You have been consumed by fire

You have not lived five hundred years

You have not risen from ruin


But you have bought a tract of land

You have enclosed the grounds

Unlawful, inhumane

Spoiling by ineptitude


Every act and every choice

Must be a contest

Nothing you know

Bends to accommodate

Your love is a word

The word is nothing

The word is the deed

And love is nothing




The Culture

Oil painting of watery scene and wagonPurpose No Secret
















(2014, Stephanie Foster)