Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "The Least of These"

This is the linkback perk poem from the December 1, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl, originally hosted by DW user Dialecticdreamer.  It came out of the October 20, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from DW user Librarygeek.  This poem also fills the "brave" square in my 8-31-15 card for the Tones Bingo fest, and the "truth or dare" square in my 6-1-14 card for the Genprompt Bingo fest. It belongs to The Ocracies series. All 11 verses have been posted.  You may reveal more verses by linking to an unsold poetry page.

"The Least of These"

There had been a war, and
the largest band of people
to escape it were led by
a brave little seeress
who was six years old.

When the refugees
finally stopped running,
there were far more
children than adults.

The surviving adults decided
that the most important thing
was the children, and so
a cluster of sheltered valleys
become the Paedarchy of Pip.

Every council had at least
one child sitting on it, and
every leader had a little advisor.

They made sure that everyone
had enough to eat, if not always
luxuries; that everyone had clothes
to wear and a place to sleep, even if
they might not be very fancy.

The laws were simple things like:
Don't take what doesn't belong to you.
Share what you have with others.
Clean up after yourself.
Always play fair.
No hitting

Lessons were learned
through games and
playing pretend, which
got harder as people
grew older and wanted
more of a challenge, thus
shifting into apprenticeships.

Disputes were often settled
by a game of Truth or Dare,
so people learned not
to pick fights like that.

The only capital crime was
causing harm to a child, for
whoever harms the least of these
has harmed the whole nation,
whereupon the perpetrator
was hung with a millstone
and flung into the river.

Pip flourished in its little sliver of land
between Pelip and Emenhal, not
a place where many great things
happened, but a place where
many people thrived.

They might not be rich in wealth,
but they were rich in happiness.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, politics, reading, weblit, writing

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