by flammeusgladius

The Promise



“The man who remembers this, I say, will be angry with no man, indignant with no man, revile no man, blame no man, hate no man, offend no man.”




You promised, sage, that I would hate no man.
I seized upon that promise at the time.
Counselors help – but only when they can.
The time changed – and thus changed the paradigm.
Free of hate? As free verse is free of rhyme?
No longer did I seek such liberty.
It was a cliff I had no need to climb.
It was a vista I sought not to see.
I sought another way of being free.
I climbed the mountain that I knew as true.
I didn’t flee as one in doubt might flee.
I attacked with hard certainty in view.
And you have kept your promise once again:
The ones I hate are very far from men.




–Tom Riley



(First appeared in The Lyric, v. 95, N. 1, Winter 2015.)