Rites or Rights?

In the past                                                  *(Before The Age of Enlightenment.)

free speech didn’t last;

hence poets spent hours

talking about flowers.


Only kings could write unlimited;

court-jesters could speak pun-limited.


Fearing the men of powers

poems got the look of cowards.



what a travesty.


David and Solomon; the best in the West?

Best poets of all time?

And it does not have to rhyme!


David finished Psalms                           *(Hebrew: תְּהִלִּים, Tehillim, “praises”)

and the rain carried it.


By the rivers of Babylon,

there we sat down,

we wept and schlept

when we remembered Zion.


If I forget you, Jerusalem,

may my right hand become ill

and forget its skill.


Lao Tzu finished his poems

and the wind carried it.


Events and things come and go continuously

the wise is creating without possessing hideously;

the wise is working without taking credit

for the edit.


Work is done and then forgotten

moving on to the next one

all of a sudden.


A son of Bharat finished an Upanishad        

and sunrays carried it.


You can read the Mandukya

for twenty years

and still not have a clue

about its lines

and rears.


The Mandukya is truly

out of this experience

hence it is impossible

to grasp its appearance.


Turiya is a journey that leaves all fences

totally beyond         your five         senses.


The state of the                 grand-made

very different from the        man-made.


From Turiya to Teruah;            *(Teruah (תְּרוּעָה); “blasting”; shofar blasts)

the Jewish refuah.


The walls came tumbling down

with malls in an ancient town.

Blowing calls for a Jewish crown;

the enemy balls looked like a clown.

Old Jericho, here we go, cheerio.


Heraclitus shared his rambling          

and a river carried it.


Nothing stays still

regardless of a man’s will.

Everything flows

that’s how life goes.

Nothing remains the same

that’s the name of the game.


Rumi finished his poems

and whirling dervishes carried it.


Rumi met Shams Tabrizi.

The scholar evolved into a poet.

The poet evolved into a Sufi.


Shams’ work was done

and then forgotten

moving on to the next one

all of a sudden.


Did Rumi see the Sun?

Did he finally see his inner self?


Marcus Aurelius shared his thoughts                      *(Meditations, Book 1)

and the winds of change carried it.


From Diognetus, Aurelius learned to tolerate

the insults and difficulties with freedom of speech;

for the Roman Empire, quite a new reach.

From his brother Severus,

Aurelius learned about equal rights

and equal freedom of speech.

But the Romans engaged mostly in fights;

and freedom of speech

they didn’t preach.


Baron de Montesquieu finished his writings

and The Age of Enlightenment carried it.


Citizen. Citoyen.                                      *(Citizen in French: citoyen)


No longer a subject. No longer an “item”.

An individual. An individual with rights.


Rights and not Church rites.


The French Enlightenment

told the rites to leave society

and asked the rights to enter society.


The separation of powers.                                       *(The tripartite system)

Checks and balances.

Independent courts.

The right to vote.

An important note.


We are the sum of this journey.


The poem is available in this PDF file (click here). Recommended.

About the Author
From London, Britain, Benjamin Kurzweil is sharing his interest in storytelling and comic pun style poems - with a Jewish twist.
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