Monday, 13 May 2013

Roman ruins

Sitting in morning sunshine
with the playful call of birds
and the playful tug of wind
to lighten the heart,
I sit among the Roman ruins of a monument
built to seeking entertainment and pleasure
from great brutality and condemnation to death.

I find I cannot justify
visiting here as a place of interest
when so many died a horrific death.
The reason this place was built
was the ego-maniacal claims of a ruler
who wanted to be remembered for offering
something back to his nation,
yet what he chose to build had only one purpose,
for people to witness and enjoy the cruel and
painful deaths of many thousands.
Whilst the structure is magnificent 
it stands as a monument of
many unwholesome qualities of humanity
and does not celebrate anything beyond
torture and the glorification of unnecessary pain in death.

I find I cannot justify
being here, admiring its presence
as one would admire a church or cathedral.
This visit fills me with melancholy and pain
for the suffering of those condemned to die here
and could stain the whole of this fine city with its memory.
Yet I am reminded of my teacher's teaching
that if one mourns the death of one tree
in a garden one misses the great beauty
that is still present in other growing forms.

And if one sees Rome as only the Colosseum
one misses the great beauty of many other
works of art and great architecture.
In leaving its shadow behind
the sun is still warm
and the wind still playful.
Looking in a different direction
this city is also the home of
the Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica.

© 13 May 2013

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