The Sword

For crusader, pirate, Mongol chief, armored knight and lord
It was his badge of courage, guarantee of guts and glory.
For plunder or for prowess, nothing equal to his sword,
Though sheathed it still provided ample credence to his story.

To build up empires, topple old regimes with sabers flashing,
To pillage ships and quiet coastal towns with blood and gore,
To save the damsel in distress, or honor, blades went clashing,
To silence the announcers of a new and radiant morn.

Today admired in museums to safeguard history,
Consigned to films and story book adventures for the young,
The sword has been replaced with the instrument of subtlety.
Without the s the foil becomes whispered, spoken, sung.

Not so different really from the sword of antiquity.
The hearts must be subdued by words of spiritual truth,
Sharpened tongues unloosed divide fact from fantasy,
Sharper yet the well-honed sword of evidence and proof.

The battle still goes on, darkness dead-set to subvert the light.
Concealed within the scabbard waits the finely tempered blade
To seize the moment, flash of steel to brandish, to ignite
The flame of love within the hearts and hatred subjugate.

A fine-tuned device, it needs cautious application.
If incorrectly used it could lay low our institutions,
Could maim its members causing irreparable separation
Could cleave in twain relationships, leaving no solution.

A harsh word or expression of malevolence or spite
Inflicts a wound much deeper than any piercing blade.
Let the keenness of the word create sentience and delight,
Concord, wisdom, understanding, peace, abiding aid.

The ancient arm, so blatant, so clattering, so clamorous,
In times remote so glamorous, so efficient to its end,
Converted now to ploughshare or olive bough, it never could
Compete with melodies so sweet from utterance or pen.