A Broadside

Drawn up before us, proud and sure,
Costumed in their haute couture,
And sporting all the best coiffures,
With colours purple and azure,

Loom the powers of disarray,
Armed with bromide and cliché,
With which to tar or to gainsay
Whomever pines for yesterday.

Though theirs is the academy,
Our economic strategy,
Political anatomy,
And all the latest gadgetry;

So too, of course, the printing press,
The movie house, the new noblesse,
The creeds and screeds we must profess—
Lest they make public your address!

Nonetheless, as arsenals go,
Our own can surely strike a blow:
We’ve all the minds of long ago—
Schiller, Thales, Cicero.

Wits renowned are in our ranks;
Their words our guns, their truths our tanks.
To whom, then, do our foes owe thanks?
Why, sophists and investment banks!

Two thousand years stand on our side,
Two thousand years shall be our guide,
To make us bold and crystal-eyed
In launching every fierce broadside

Against the powers of anarchy,
Whose ‘progress’ lies in entropy,
And whose ‘right side of history’
Belongs to rot and atrophy!

And though their might may seem outsized,
They’ve might alone to criticise,
To alchemise and to disguise
As ‘love’ their wild lust to despise.

And though, likewise, we now seem meek,
We’ve latent force of Roman, Greek,
Of Templars with their chaste mystique,
And all the knights of days antique.

Have, therefore, no angst or fears,
For all they wield are slings and smears
Against the might of truths and spears
And wisdom of two thousand years.



Peter Lillios resides in Sound Beach, New York. He is an auditor by profession.

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17 Responses

  1. Russel Winick

    Peter – This is terrific! So many wonderful lines and rhymes. I just hope you’re right.

    • Peter Lillios

      Thanks, Russel! Take heart, for a wiser man than I once said, “All that is great begins great, and likewise ends in greatness.” The Western tradition began in greatness with the Greeks, and it will likewise end in greatness — not with the whimper of the “purple and azure” crowd. And of course, every ending is also a beginning.

  2. Mo

    This work brought hope to me. It PUNCHES in a quiet and meaningful way.
    “Their words our guns, their truths our tanks” is masterful. Thanks for the read.

  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    It’s a real tour de force to pull off a sequence of monorhyme quatrains like this, all of them neatly constructed. And note that the paired quatrains 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 7 and 8 are each a single sentence. This makes for a smooth fluency in the reading, which counteracts the danger of sing-song regularity that is so common with tetrameter. Nothing of that here… we get a perfect flow of excellent English.

    Lillios has a U.K. accent, so I assume that accounts for his -ise and -our spellings (criticise, colours).

    As for “sophists and investment banks,” no truer words have been spoken about the deepest sources of our current malaise. The lying vermin in academia, along with high-capitalist money-managers, are modern society’s poisoned wells.

    • Peter Lillios

      Many thanks, Joseph! Since this poem is a figurative “throwing down of the gauntlet,” it seemed to me that monorhyme quatrains would be well suited: they are, as you say, a display of technique — almost like a fencer making a display of swordplay before a duel!

      Also, one minor clarification — I actually enlisted a professional vocalist for the reading, and the U.K. accent is his, not mine. I’m an American, though I do often opt for U.K. spellings, as you noted. It seems to pair better with the accent!

  4. Cynthia Erlandson

    I enjoyed this very much! The words you chose to rhyme are all on-target, and also fun! I especially love academy/strategy/anatomy/gadgetry.

  5. C.B. Anderson

    Good stuff actually, for reasons cited above and others, not least of which is sheer audacity.

    • Peter Lillios

      Thanks C.B. I think it was the Little Corporal who said something to the effect of, “Never fear to be bold, for any error made through boldness is easily remedied by yet more boldness.” I suppose that’s this poem’s raison d’etre. 🙂

  6. Michael Pietrack

    I have a prediction: A blindingly bright future awaits this talented writer…

  7. Margaret Coats

    Most encouraging, Peter, both in thought and in careful, clever diction. Did you know the Templars are being revived? An acquaintance of mine went to Italy to be knighted by a prince. He is less certain than ever that the Church will accept defense by force of arms, so he is working in media at present. But we need that just as much, and you are participating by volleys such as this one.

    • Peter Lillios

      I was not aware of that! But I am seeing more and more of these little buds of “onto-historical” awakening (that is, an awareness of one’s situatedness within a worthy historical tradition) sprout up. Such things are a hopeful sign, and no small part of the inspiration for this poem.

  8. Brian Lee Watkins

    A fantastic poem. It flows beautifully, with some truly powerful lines.
    The sentiment resonates.
    Love it – thank you!

  9. Roy Eugene Peterson

    Beautifully written and rhymed, Peter! I am with you that the true realities of history will ultimately decide the realities of tomorrow and that your final verse will come to fruition.


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