What Are We Made Of?

by | Sep 1, 2019

What are we made of? asks the child who cries

who just wants a toy she can play with

or to ask most politely before she dies

“is there someone out there I can stay with?”


What are we made of? the question burns

as dark shirts mass at the door

the question is answered by various turns

while the Minister lays down the law


What are we made of? letting others conceal

with meaningful dialogues lessened

what desperation compels us to feel

that all we have fought for is threatened


What are we made of? are we afraid?

of another’s holy communion

the book we were reading is lost or way laid

there appears little hope of reunion


What are we made of? in our brand new suit

with our fresh renovations by the water

what keeps us placid, compliant and mute

to the perfectly choreographed slaughter


What are we made of? kept under wraps

to shelve it amongst our convictions

sprung from ideas disguised as maps

as we draw up a list of evictions


What are we made of? can we pin down the phrase

and tell those weary souls we hold hostage

as we meander through our bright lazy days

and define the ideas that are vestige


Who is to blame when the house blows down?

when the windows and walls break or rattle

who drives us into the dark cold town

to corner and herd us like cattle


What has gone wrong since our bold declarations

on our victorious, glorious shorelines

lining up images amidst loud protestations

and rehearsing our most tragic of song lines


What are we made of? are we too tired to try

to rouse our collective rebellion

while the well dressed, double pressed, trill tongued lie

flails in its indignation


What are we made of? it hangs in the air

a pathétique of rhetorical reflections

while the masters spring forth and brush back their hair

and remind us of their recollections


What are we made of? can we lend it a hand

can we give it some sort of asylum

can we wake it from slumber and help it stand

and give it a new coat to try on


What are we made of? is the mournful request

as others make notes in observing

as those who remember pass by those who know best

and despair at what we’re preserving


What are we made of? the question remains

as if by disturbing the embers

of our quiet desperation and all it sustains

so that somehow our conscience remembers


What are we made of? what is it indeed

that the question requires such an airing

if nothing is left but corruptible seed

it tells us just how we are fairing.

© copyright – Stephen Newman 2019

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