Sunday, 19 October 2014

Leader of the Realm

awakened from his rest, he darkly stared: 
the chilled look of the lost and unempowered –
having veered,  off course and unprepared: 
yet, strangely, somehow mixed up, in that hour

but still, with jaded heart, he slowly rose
and, duty bound, set off to take the helm – 
lest his noncompliance might expose:
the whipped, reluctant Leader of the Realm

and so he tucked his scepticism in:
a good obliging wise man full of doubt, 
and placed his hopes and aspirations in:
the happy day –  his candle sputtered out

for, he often felt mad forces were at play,
and fathers’ wills left to their sons in sins: 
for those – long dead – went on to seize the day:
and the living tossed in wild Aeolian winds

note:  Ae•o•li•an (iˈoʊ li ən) adj.  pertaining to Aeolus; to the winds in general; caused by the wind; wind-blown.

Aeolus is mentioned in The Odyssey as the Keeper of the Winds who gives Odysseus a tightly closed bag full of the captured winds so he could sail easily home to Ithaca on the gentle West Wind, but his men, thinking the bag was filled with riches, open it – unleashing wild winds that throw the ship off course, and greatly extend the voyage home.

photos:  Fiery dawn – W. Bourke and Boats against the Cityscape – W. Bourke
© 2014 Wendy Bourke 


  1. I love the flow of this poem, Wendy, although I feel you're writing of a specific person/character that I'm unfamiliar with ...

    1. In my life, I have come upon a number of people who were pressured at a very young age to go into certain professions (or, at least a certain level of career) and maintain a certain standard of living that, they had little input or choice in (indeed, they probably never questioned it, initially). And as the years have gone by, and their responsibilities to children and aging parents has grown, it seems to me, many of them are very unhappy and literary feel that they have been force marched through much of their life - by the will and the expectations of others. In effect, they are reluctant - but dutiful - leaders.

    2. As I re-read this poem, I began thinking about political leaders that must rise and face the challenges of leading every day of their terms when they have met such resistance and fogginess of 'vision' that their paths seem impossible to follow. Any yet, they stimble on trying to fulfill the vows made to themselves and their constituents when they initally picked up the mantle of leadership ...

    3. I agree. I think people often find themselves in a leadership role that is consuming and exhausting and yet they are compelled to carry on as best they can because it is what is expected of them.

  2. Really sad if a person realizes that they ended up in a place that was not their own choosing in life and perhaps it was a bit late to make other choices.....

  3. I really like the rhyme in this, especially the 3rd stanza. And I like the photos too. The colors in the first one are spectacular and your black & whites are so good.

  4. sometimes it seems as if th journey will never be done..and i guess like him we find ourselves at the fate of our opening that story in this....

  5. Guess the greed of men will never cease.

  6. That balance of concern for your children's wellbeing and to force upon an ambition that they don't possess -- it seldom ends well. The flow of the poem is amazing.

  7. You do use rhyming words to good effect. Thank you for sharing this poem and the commentary. I so often learn something new here!

    1. Thanks, Janet. I enjoy learning something new, too. So when I'm working on a poem and a question pops into my head (such as, for example, in this case: I wonder if there is a god of wind - there must be) off I go.

  8. yes Aeolian winds will definitely extend the voyage a days parents often impose their ambition on their children who have to carry that burden lifelong..this is very frustrating...lovely use of myth here Wendy :)