Barbarism Unchained #poetry


I was chained to oars on a boat

who cares that the sea salt tickled my nose

I could not inhale the fresh brisk air

filth filled my nostrils

and leather threatened to lick my shoulders

“pull.. pull.. pull.. pull..”

I was urged to keep a constant pace

this was the life I was regulated to

I was once a simple farmer

who loved my wife and my children

I couldn’t wipe tears on my grainy face

had they been burned alive?

had they miraculously escaped the terror?

I opened my eyes from a dream

fiction always comes alive in sleep

today’s news is pushed beneath my door

I smell burnt flesh

screams pervade my reality

hundreds of bare feet pound in futile retreat

senseless are these radicals

who teach young boys to wield swords

my fingers sift through the ashes of a church

looking for any  remnant of life

the age old story on society overtaken by another

they called it “the spoils of war”

I call it senseless brutality

against peaceful  innocent victims

but then we live in an advanced age

“enlightenment” some call it

where civilization slides backwards

they inhale unjustified cruelty

the reclamation of barbarism

the true captives of a hellish purpose


Today’s prompt at Poets United is Captivity.

Published by moondustwriter

Thank you for visiting Moondustwriter. In 2019, we have an exciting project. We are developing elementary curriculum for Ugandan children. As a writer, it is a thrill to help children who want to learn. Along with the curriculum, we hope to develop simple fictions about Uganda for the children to read at school. Trust me books are in short supply. We will use our trusted story tellers: a butterfly and a lion to make the stories come alive. Stay tuned as Bethany and Me put pen to paper. I've been part of the blogging community for more than 10 years. Some old timers may remember the award winning (2012 Twitter Shorty ) blog community - One Stop Poetry. I was the (quiet) originator of the idea and co-producer of One Stop Poetry. I am a published writer, poet, artist and photographer. I have written, as well as edited, for periodicals, radio, blogs and fellow writers. There are many facets to this moon - thanks for stopping by.

Join the Conversation


  1. What an apocalyptic vision…raises the question perhaps would you want survive in that world..but i think human nature is just that..and perhaps even to make it ‘better’


    1. “my fingers sift through the ashes” always a day late–and here you bring in our mind, spirit and heart to sift too. I felt this though my rowboat may be solitary or in a bucolic settiing. Thank you, thank you.


  2. it’s really difficult to understand this kind of things happening around us. what is exactly the purpose? thought provoking piece.


  3. A powerful write… society taken over by another……while the innocent on both sides suffer. Hard to fathom the barbarism in a society with as much information as we have. Massive disconnection between heads and hearts in such instances. In order to commit the acts, I imagine.


  4. This made me think of what’s going on today in parts of the middle East where, according to the media at least, modern-day men (and women) are behaving no better than the barbarians of old… Or, to be fair, my ancient viking ancestors for that matter. Thought provoking piece! Love it!


  5. The title of your poem depicts the atrocities of barbarism. The greed, selfishness and power is the cause of everything that is going on in the world. It can only stop if we try to be human. Leslie this is another poem of yours that helps the reader to see vividly what’s happening.


  6. It seems this rage always was there, just hiding….now it shows up its ugly face to be seen by all, to be hopefully dissolved by our demonstration of opposite powerful positive force….


  7. __If children are taught savagery from the moments they begin to learn… within their imprinted,
    minds, that is all they will ever know. There is no justification for that sort of mind burning, by those who’s minds had been previously ‘brain washed’ with such vicious tenets.


  8. Power, money and control are the reasons. Given a taste of one and the others join hands and party along. The more power that is bestowed on business and politicians the more they will want as it like a drug. It was suggested once that a benevolent dictatorship is what is needed; that sounds good if you can name one to copy!


  9. Gosh… Absolutely mind numbing…!! A very painful tale…. need more voices to be raised against these evils.. Thanks for sharing, moondust! 🙂


  10. This really gave a vivid picture of what it would be like to be separated from his family and becoming part of a war machine where human life mattered little or nothing…just the win, for whatever stakes there were.


  11. The first part reminded me of slaves in the galleys of ships in Roman history. Slavery is barbaric,
    The video was interesting as well. Sad for parents losing their children to the Islamic cause. It seems that the “religion of peace” has nothing much to do with peace at all….!


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