He Who Burned Down The Temple by Zoë Sîobhan Howarth-Lowe

They said he was on a good errand:

but what proof do you have of that.


He had good stories to tell –

filling the ears of a hundred servants

all invited to gather and to listen and feast

upon words, the noises – they came as before

and when he had finished declaiming

all who had heard, said he’d spoken well.


These listeners stayed there awhile

eyes fixed upon stars,

sitting at the outer edge of a circle,

these men of worth, sitting, as if they were great

and wealthy chieftains, little to do, little to say.


He explained it all in pleasing well-meant language,

words that count when nothing else will please .


On the third night, he set out for home,

bade them farewell with the firmest kind of oaths,

sailed his ship to the north of the glacier

then out into the shelter of the islands.


It may be that what he did was good but I expect that bad rather than good will come of it.

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