Friday, November 12, 2010

The Well

The Well

The well is full of fear,
and every day we have to
drink poison, bathe in it. 
We know the well
is broken and fearful
but pretend we do not know
what broke it.

The village is clamorous drunk with
senselessness, blank and softened in that acid bath,
so that the pale flickering light
that shines sly behind every curtain
burns indelible images on damaged corneas
and rumbles an echo of wardrums into half-deaf ears
to sell cornflakes and cars.

Every soul must buy a badge and
every house have a plague cross on the door,
marked red or blue, and at primetime a bell rings
to bring out the ones we wish dead--
The Socialists or
The Patriots or
The Illegals or
The Not Real Americans or
whoever we've learned to hate today--who?
They're already gone
hauled off and dumped
in the dead waters that feed the well.

Every day the fear gets louder, the blue light stronger and
more curdling, the water less able to quench
as drinking it becomes sweeter.
It makes the mind dizzy and eager to
congratulate itself on its sapient foolishness, or
buzz with an insectile thought-erasing rage, as it
stings reason to death.

The well is broken, but we drink from it anyway.
Soon now it will be drained by the thirst
and the bucket will go down
deep down into the heart of dissolution
and come up not just heavy with
mud and iridescent sludge 
And venom that
clings like grief to the mouth,
but with the secret that lives at the bottom of the well:
that we are the ones
who broke it.

November 2010

Written for the Monday November 8th Prompt at Big Tent Poetry, which was to use a book title from the New York Times Bestsellers List. I chose Broke, by Glenn Beck.


  1. Such cynicism! I shall have nightmares about this. But very well written.

  2. I blame homeless-sexuals.

    This is freaking brilliant, Hedgewitch. Absolutely. freaking. brilliant.

  3. Excellent write. I love the macabre.

  4. Your well is deep and not broken as the one in your poem. Fascinating, intriguing, and so well laid out. A smooth ride, right to those last lines. Fine work,


  5. Thanks all, enjoyed your poems as well.

    @FB I could rant about this subject indefinitely, but that would be wrong, yes? Glad you dug it.

  6. oh hedgewitch, you are preaching to the choir here - what Fireblossom said in spades - brilliant squared!

  7. So thought-provoking and a good analysis.
    Victoria (liv2write2day)

  8. A powerful poem Hedgewith with some great lines,
    'mud and irridescent sludge ' being my favourite.

  9. "Marked red or blue, and at primetime a bell rings
    To bring out the ones we wish dead--" -- oh, but that is so good.

    Sad, sad, sad how true this is.

    What a stellar piece of writing.

  10. Potent rage. I particularly like the idea "the water less able to quench/ As drinking it becomes sweeter."

  11. Boy am I with you on your sentiments! but, you've got me started! ;o)

  12. Many thanks Talon. It's really like a plague to me, infectious and potentially fatal to all the small contracts between each other that make up a functioning society.

    Thanks again to all who took the time to read & comment. I appreciate it deeply.

  13. Stunning. "venom that / Clings like grief to the mouth," ... and the ending - wow. Nice work.

  14. So ominous almost has a biblical feel to it well done!


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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