Sonnet: ‘The Fall of Rome’

Jesus, a preacher with fake miracles,
his “Sea” of Galilee just eight miles wide–
rebelling against Rome and crucified–
his failure clear (though words were lyrical)…
you’d think “Messiah” was satirical!
But epileptic Paul a chance descried
to shut out other gods and thoughts worldwide,
thus sealing up Rome’s vital spiracles.
So, building on apocalyptic fears,
the Jewish Jesus ends where Paul begins.
Scientists, artists, poets, engineers,
are suffocated as the new faith wins.
All progress is set back a thousand years.
The Roman Empire died for Jesus’ sins.

Belief is strange. Take Covid vaccination: two thirds of us believe it’s an effective way to save lives, one third of us believe it’s a dangerous and unscrupulous way to make money and control people. Virtually no one has actually done any research and analysis of the issue, we just listen to our preferred sources of information and the community we’re a part of.

Or take religion: for the most part, children raised in Christian families remain Christian believers all their lives, Muslims remain Muslim, Buddhists remain Buddhist, and so on. Which makes it all the more impressive when someone can radically change the belief structure that surrounds them. Kudos then to the epileptic Paul of Tarsus, who created a Jewish-Mithraist-polytheist mishmash that has lasted almost 2,000 years. Pity about the Roman Empire, though.

This happily Petrarchan sonnet (iambic pentameter, and rhyming ABBAABBA CDCDCD) was originally published in Rat’s Ass Review, where respectfulness and respectability are not required. Thanks, Roderick Bates!

“Darkness Falls in Rome” by Storm Crypt is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

2 thoughts on “Sonnet: ‘The Fall of Rome’

  1. David Galef

    The Fall of Rome
    W. H. Auden – 1907-1973
    (for Cyril Connolly)
    The piers are pummelled by the waves;
    In a lonely field the rain
    Lashes an abandoned train;
    Outlaws fill the mountain caves.
    Fantastic grow the evening gowns;
    Agents of the Fisc pursue
    Absconding tax-defaulters through
    The sewers of provincial towns.
    Private rites of magic send
    The temple prostitutes to sleep;
    All the literati keep
    An imaginary friend.
    Cerebrotonic Cato may
    Extol the Ancient Disciplines,
    But the muscle-bound Marines
    Mutiny for food and pay.
    Caesar’s double-bed is warm
    As an unimportant clerk
    Writes I DO NOT LIKE MY WORK
    On a pink official form.
    Unendowed with wealth or pity,
    Little birds with scarlet legs,
    Sitting on their speckled eggs,
    Eye each flu-infected city.
    Altogether elsewhere, vast
    Herds of reindeer move across
    Miles and miles of golden moss,
    Silently and very fast.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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