Counterfeit Martyrdom

Evil terrorists ’round the world
Reject God’s law, “Thou shalt not kill.”
Minds indoctrinated, furled
up in a cold and savage will!

Real martyrs are the brave who die
adhering to their faith and creed.
Suicide is murder high
in cowardice, which marks this breed.

Vile murders indiscriminate
– the innocent among their own-
prove their deeds deliberate;
an evil doctrine cast in stone!

True martyrs die by other hands,
and never ever by their own.
‘Holy War’ is wrapped in bands
of contradiction , false in tone.

Real martyrdom excludes the deaths
of wanton killers on the prowl.
They’d enjoy ten million more breaths
should they, with faith, throw in the towel!

 

Riddle

The tabular splendor stands with pride
between the lion’s head and Devil’s peak,
where you can fly on the Northern side;
when a Southern pleasure you may seek.

(*Answer at bottom)

 

The Curse Called Gangsterism

Garotte or gun, or wicked knife–
with these the gangsters claim their worth.
They’re cursed and blind and deaf, and rife
carcinogens in the womb of Earth.

They’re blind to reason, deaf to pleas
that ricochet off dormant brains.
The dirge of Life (found on its knees!) ;
a dirge with endless sick refrains.

The poor are not exempt with them,
Life’s lowest form of predators.
And in our hearts we all condemn
these self-deluded creditors.

Lamentable laws do promote
this rot found in the human race.
Give rights to rapists, who take note,
and rape again. Spit in your face!

They meet with criminal intent;
which constitutes ‘attempted crime’.
Since ‘common purpose’ gets consent,
we know our law’s not worth a dime.

 

Have Regard For Those Who Sleep

Have regard for those who sleep
with moist and restless eyes.
Soften your step for those who sleep
amidst night’s noisy cries.

Have regard for those who sleep
in cardboard’s brittle wings
as you have for those who sleep
the silken sleep of kings.

Have regard for those who sleep
a sleep reposed on need.
Jaded, stressed, so they join sleep,
and from the world they’re freed.

Have regard for those who sleep,
who snatch but forty winks.
Hush, though he, who takes his sleep
like Rip van Winkle, stinks!

Have regard when neighbors snore —-
you may well do the same!
Don’t go knocking at their door;
just join them in their game.

 

The Cape Doctor

“Cape Doctor” is a misnomer
But so the wind is called.
He’s earned a gilt-frame diploma
for leaving folk appalled.

South Eater is his actual name;
he blows all Summer long.
His cooling breath stays not the same—
now gust, then very strong.

The beach is his preferred place;
umbrellas favorite toys.
And while the girls stay in the chase
he’s surfing with the boys.

Some products at the market stalls
sprout wings and fly away
when he assails with urgent squalls.
With force he’ll have his say.

Good ships have gone to Davy Jones,
they lost South Easter’s game.
And though he causes broken bones,
Cape Doctor keeps his name.

 

Basil Fillis won first prize in a Poetry Institute of Africa competition in 2000 and third prize the following year. In 2008, the itch to write became unbearable and he ultimately won a third prize at PIA. He is 67 years young and retired. He was born and bred South African.

 

Featured Image: “Into the Breach” by Stuart Brown.

*Riddle Answer: Table Mountain, Western Cape, South Africa

Table Mountain, in South Africa.

Table Mountain, in South Africa.

 

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5 Responses

  1. Allan

    Counterfeit Martyrdom
    Knowing what I know: when at war, the mind of a terrorist and a soldier is the same. it’s just that the terrorist has no common sense. and no moral compass other than his own infatuation. but war is war. there is no distinction in the methods used based on who it is that’s using them. there is no compassionate war.

    Reply
  2. B

    Would it be OK to publish my analysis of this poem?

    I really wanted to do the poem justice and the best way I found so far is to do a line analysis based only on my personal subjective opinion and nothing else. What do you think? Would that be OK?

    Reply
    • Basil Fillis

      Go for it. Just as long you don’t denigrate my poem (me).
      But let’s hear your opinion. The poem did not win any prizes,
      though!

      Reply
  3. Badrue Ecsweli

    On Table Mountain

    It overlooks the city of Cape Town, South Africa,
    the flat-topped Table Mountain, cloud-touched orographica.
    The legend has it, it’s a smoking contest that’s between
    the Devil and Van Hunks, the pirate, who are never seen.
    But one can see the orchid, Pride of Table Mountain, there,
    with dassies on the rocks or jackal buzzards in the air.
    And even higher up, below Orion in night’s sky,
    one can see constellation Mensa, midnights in July,
    named by astronomer Lacaille in th’ 18th century,
    that indefatigable calculating Mons. machine.

    Reply
  4. Benjamen Grinberg

    what a lovely poem badrue.

    anyway, i will post my analysis of counterfeit martyrdom. a very interesting poem. like I said, this is a totally subjective analysis and upon reading the poem today, i felt that it’s a really great poem! I think doing the analysis yesterday gave me fresh eyes reading the poem today.

    Counterfeit Martyrdom

    Evil terrorists ’round the world

    (Evil is a big word. Lot’s of things are evil. Lot’s of terrorists are just stupid.)

    Reject God’s law, “Thou shalt not kill.”

    (Who doesn’t)
    Minds indoctrinated, furled
    up in a cold and savage will!

    (I think they’re just raving jerks.)

    Real martyrs are the brave who die
    adhering to their faith and creed.

    (Again, hard to juxtapose evil and martyr since the two have so commonly now gone together. One truth can’t usurp so many lies unless it has the strength.)
    Suicide is murder high
    in cowardice, which marks this breed.

    (We still don’t get the difference. Martyr’s, terroists, both sacrifice their life. The difference is unclear since everyone says the same thing, claiming they’re good and the other is evil.)

    Vile murders indiscriminate
    – the innocent among their own-

    (who’s innocent? they obviously don’t see it that way)
    prove their deeds deliberate;
    an evil doctrine cast in stone!

    (it is an evil doctrine. i think this is more powerful than saying those people are evil. the doctrine itself is evil that possesses them. quizzically this become hard to say even though it’s more accurate because of pc-police.)

    True martyrs die by other hands,
    and never ever by their own.

    (says who? you? so many people keep saying the same thing, this is hard to take at face value. Even though, at heart, it’s obviously true.)
    ‘Holy War’ is wrapped in bands
    of contradiction , false in tone.

    (I like this, it goes more to an intellectual truth and less emotional.)

    Real martyrdom excludes the deaths
    of wanton killers on the prowl.
    They’d enjoy ten million more breaths
    should they, with faith, throw in the towel!

    (Clever turn of phrase. but again, hard to take people defining things at face value since everyone seems to think they’re a moral authority nowadays, at least in the media. Even though the morality of the poem is common sense. Just maybe a bit less block statements and more nuance.)

    Reply

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