God or Man?

*Inspired by a Joe Tessitore photograph for the Society of Classical Poet’s ‘Write A Poem’ Challenge* https://classicalpoets.org/2020/01/19/write-a-poem-on-one-of-these-images/

“God or Man?” he asks of me,
“That truth of which I’m told.
Tell me if you can,” says he,
“Which path does lead to gold?”

“Of riches internal or outwards?” I ask.
“Of wealth overflowing or small?”
“Of that which will flower this desert” says he,
“Of that which births roads from a wall.”

“Of roads with the eye or the soul?” I reply.

“Whichever will guide me to grace,”
he says as he turns to the tourist and sighs,
“Of that which will find me a face.”

“What makes an empire?” I ask of the man.
“A leader” says he, with a grin.
“But what makes one lasting and loved throughout time?”
“Their heart” he replies as a win.

“But how are you sure if it’s good or it’s ill?”

“By my own” he replies with a bend.

“But what if your own is defective, my dear? Just how will you know what will mend?”

He thought upon these questions,
then turned to me and said,
“Why do we call bread broken,
when through its tear, we’re fed?
If plurals build on singulars,
and truth does set men free
to break the flesh’s fetters,
might man’s letters hold the key?”

“You ask a crucial question, which my return’s, “Because-
how can we have a word which ‘is’, if something never ‘was’?”

“To build upon a form,” says he,
“A true form must exist,
for stories, songs, and artist’s hands,
to undertake this twist.”

He motions to a statue,
and to this I do reply,
“Wise is he, whose soul can see the wings by which it flies.”

“God or Man?” I ask of him
who laughs and takes my hand.
“Now I see the path ahead,
and know on which I stand.”

-Amy Struthers

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