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Compelled to Speak, Condemned to Silence

Break the silence with your sword

No science nor religion

Do not speak of politics

You are causing more division

Do not tell them what you think

Just wait until we reach

The brink of our destruction

With nowhere else to turn

No more time left to learn

Quiet, watch the pages burn.

They will hate you if you speak

Call you fearful or insane

No one else will care to hear it

Keep it to yourself instead

You will not gain fame nor honor

You pass friendless with the poor

Into the darkness where you wander

‘Til the Real can take its toll.

It burns so deep inside you

This Truth you must endure

No matter who it is derides you

The urgent voice within your soul

You will take it as your own

Responsibility unspoken

One that you so plainly know.

A prophet unconsidered

Your words soon fade forgotten

Dependent on re-telling

A message never welcome

You knew that few would listen

Isolated and alone.

The path that you must follow

If you can follow one at all

Not the one you would have chosen

Who would want this burning call

To wake the sleeping and the dead?

“I do not wish to be awakened

Leave me alone and let me sleep

I’m enthralled with what I’m dreaming

I see all I want to see!”

Why bear this constant trouble

Why wage this endless war

Is this just an empty symbol, nothing more?

Compelled to speak

Condemned to silence

Break the silence with your Sword.


This is a new poem structure (at least that I know of) and an odd one at that. I used it to signal the way a prophetic (or protesting) message might struggle to be spoken and then fade, only to be re-spoken until it is heard as the Sword of Truth.

The structure is (9 lines, then 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 final)

Copyright © 2022, Robert G. Metivier. All Rights Reserved. Photo by Alin Andersen on Unsplash — Salzburg Cathedral

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Originally published on Substack on 3.20.22

Recommended1 Simily SnapPublished in Culture and Current Events, Poetry, Spirituality


      1. I apologize that I painted the struggle so darkly, that it elicited a feeling of despair. It is an intense struggle with all that is happening around us, but not an occasion for despair, but ultimately action.