Poetry: The Oversight

you stand atop the mountains old,
look down onto the earth below
and see in footprints stamped in blood
the signs for words you do not know

you remember teachers’ greetings,
seasoned with the airs of meaning
but didn’t care to brand your mind
with knowledge that you found demeaning

you recall the lessons burned
in riots that destroyed the learned
the embers of the papers fluttering
in the smoke-polluted air you earned

you realize that if you’d heard
the truth behind the “lies” you spurned
that perhaps your war-won oversight
would instead of pain be based on words

you admit to no one you have failed
for no one remains to heal what ails
and are forced to clamber down the slope
to recover scraps of a new dawn’s hope
and rebuild for life what your oversights
destroyed to leave the world so frail


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