The Fires of Pompeii


The Fires of Pompeii

The chorus came from village squares
of whispers growing into shouts,
arising from the markets
the sound of broken gold
sweeping loudly over the ashen planes.
The traders, the artisans,
the citizens, the slaves,
blind to the tremors, negligent to the shaking.

On the quivering cold of torch light
they ran about their plazas,
numb to their condemnation
just as mice run the trap.
When the day gave way to dusk,
the mountain long forgotten stirred,
and Vesuvius was unforgiving.
When the ground shook in the depths of night,
the fury of the Earth came bursting forth,
tired of the ignorance,
determined to be heard.

While fire and ash absorbed the sky,
they saw the darkness dance with hell.
Slag covered the Roman pines,
and the people ran,
they ran;
their cacophony of cries shattered by the stars
plummeting down to Earth.
Frozen by the embers of their own mortality,
the inferno remained deafened to their shouts.
Their work was left abandoned,
all buried in the ash,
plaster-cast immortalised for millennia,
forever left a martyr,
a warning,
or a sordid tragedy.

A village burned in the fires of disregard,
buried by pride and trapped by fixation:
salve lucrum, in the fires of Pompeii!


I’ve discovered a new fascination with historical based poetry. I believe there’s much to be learned from the eruption at Pompeii in 79. It functions as both a fascinating allegory and an intriguing historical case study. Thanks for reading! -MC

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