.

Daedalus

Icarus, you have disobeyed,
As all men do, and dearly paid.
Too recklessly your heart did fly
Between high seas and louring sky.
The wings I gave you, it is true,
But what would you have had me do?
No hand does good, no heart loves well
Constrained within a prison cell,
Unable all its lifetime long
To do its neighbour any wrong
Or play the idiot and be
Ruined in its stupidity,
By labyrinth and statute hemmed,
Walled off from folly and condemned
To circle through a soulless maze
In thoughtless wisdom all its days.
I gave you life and gave you power
To soar from virtue’s marble bower
Into a wider space designed
By your own great or feeble mind
And, though your paths I sought to guide,
On your own wings I let you glide.
Your fall bereaves me but I know
That you die free. I made you so.

.

.

Commerce and Jurisprudence

“Love,” trilled the man of commerce, “No-one could
Praise you enough. For you men toil and sweat,
Then spend their wages twice and, lashed by debt,
Must labour harder. Be it understood
That from you every service, every good
And every profit stems. What gains are missed
In Love’s neglect! If Love did not exist
Would I invent it? Yes, of course I would.”
“And so an idol craft,” the jurist sighed,
“That summons treachery and fratricide,
When man the demon finds it fun to play
At Love for one short week or just one day.
Love’s mere pretence brings grief and mischief and
If Love existed I would have it banned.”

.

.

Morrison Handley-Schachler is a Chartered Public Finance Accountant and Lecturer in Accounting. He has a doctorate in Ancient History and has published articles on ancient Persian history, accounting history, financial crime, auditing and financial risk management. He lives in South Queensferry, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland.


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7 Responses

  1. Michael Pietrack

    I really appreciated this line, which made me stop and really think:

    Then spend their wages twice and, lashed by debt,
    Must labour harder.

    Reply
    • Morrison Handley-Schachler

      Very happy that you appreciated it. I am hoping I captured some widespread experiences here.

      Reply
  2. Paul Freeman

    “Your fall bereaves me but I know / That you die free.”

    ‘Daedalus’ sort of boils down to ‘Better to die on your feet than live on your knees’. I like that.

    Thanks for the reads, Morrison.

    Reply
    • Morrison Handley-Schachler

      Thanks very much for your comments. That is definitely the spirit in which it is intended.

      Reply
  3. Joshua C. Frank

    Love them both! “Daedalus” looks like a metaphor for God giving us free will and all kinds of blessings that we misuse to fall into sin, whereas “Commerce and Jurisprudence” articulates the two existing views of love; I go with the one who would invent love if it didn’t exist… but it’s also true that it’s better never to know of the concept of love than merely to pretend at it.

    Also, I noticed your bio; that’s quite an impressive set of credentials.

    Reply
    • Morrison Handley-Schachler

      Thank you for your appreciative comments. I’m glad you enjoyed both poems. I have had an interesting career for an accountant. Both speakers are indeed supposed to have something worthwhile to say, even if they have different standpoints. I’m also grateful that God didn’t create us as holy automata. I would much rather have free will with all its risks.

      Reply

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