The Arrogance Will Be Costly

old swing


“Is this it? Is this…all that’s left?”  Jakob asked. The villagers stood among the remnants, stricken with fear, dumbfounded.

They gathered in the center of what was left the playground. The jungle gym—once only a few crossties with heavy, knotted ropes for climbing—was mostly gone; only the support beams protruded from the grass, the edges jagged and sharp, like broken toothpicks.

“And that—what is that over there?” said Josiah, his voice trembling.

“Is that…my god, is that a shoe?” someone deeper in the crowd exclaimed.

A blonde-haired woman broke from the throng to grab the shoe. “No, no, no! Not Kamyra! Not my baby…!” she screeched, clutching the shoe to her chest.  A man tore himself from the group and went to the woman, wrapping his arms around her and stroking her hair.  For a moment, there was only the sound of the wind cutting through the trees and the wails of the woman with the shoe.

Abruptly, a question cut through her grief.  “Where’s the sandbox?” The loud whisper came from Kaitlin.  She stood with her jaw set and her shoulders square, a pillar in the midst of chaos, but the shudder in her voice reverberated throughout the crowd, and the villagers pulled closer together.  “The sandbox?” she asked again, extending her hands beseechingly.

Heads turned left and right, but no one responded.

Another villager pointed to the clearing near the tree line.  “Is that…the swing?

Jakob pulled away from the others to an object that was half-rammed into the ground.  It was the old swing.  He pulled it up with a yank.  All that was left was a bit of chain attached to the fractured wooden seat.  Teeth marks had made an ugly, ragged curve in the wood, and it was splattered with fresh blood and bits of flesh.

Kaitlin whipped around to the village elder.

“Do you see now?  Do you believe now?” she shrieked, her fear turned to fury.

The elder remained motionless, unable to move or speak.

“Perhaps you will give the offering next season, Elder?” Jakob spat, his eyes ablaze in rage.  “And maybe you will not be so wise?  So callous?” He waved the broken, bloodied swingseat wildly. “Shall we appease them, next season, Elder?” he repeated, his voice rising.  “Or will you  imagine still that they do not exist?”

The elder threw himself on the ground and at the feet of his wayward flock, he screamed for forgiveness.




“In time and with water, everything changes.”  Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519


What you know of water

Is what we all know of water:

The cool liquid is salvation

On a hot day

When the sun shines too bright;

Or that the sound of it,

Crashing against the beachhead,

Is music for lovers

On the sand–


Yes, what you know of water

Is what we all know of water:

That when the cool liquid

Falls from the sky:

The silvery drops, the crystal drops…

When the treasured drops

From God’s own hand

Touch the ground,

They rejuvenate the earth

And enrich the land–


But what do I know of water?

I know that when the cool liquid

Pours over my hands—

My dirty hands

My stained hands

My evil hands—

It washes away the blood

It absolves me from my act

It liberates me from my guilt,

From my crime

And it frees me from my sin


And An Angel Will Lead Him Home

“A man’s homeland is wherever he prospers.”   Aristophanes



When once was lost a good man’s soul

And he did renounce the promised home

When darkness pushed the light away

He vowed he would no longer play

When rules and law mattered not—

He sought a new way home.


When once his conscious led him not

And the words he prayed were all for naught

When God did turn his back to him

His hands were covered in blood of kin

When guilt for him held no concern—

He sought a new way home.


When once the love this man did hold

Changed in tenor and in code

When he invited evil in

When he committed grievous sin

When he spilled the blood of a humble man—

He sought a new way home.


When once an angel of netherworld

Ventured forth and spoke a word

The angel made a promise true

Of a place of blackest hue

Where fires burned in name of sin—

He found a new way home.

Copyright 2012 © Elizabeth Michaud John.  All rights reserved.