A Matter of Tradition

A southern tradition in a meal
each New Year’s day;
pork for health,
greens for wealth,
black-eyed peas for luck.
We adhere to these conventions
and hope a superstition can improve
our situation.

A year ended which held
little positive,
to say “I was able to survive”
being the best we can take away.
A year ahead without much promise.
The certainty of less prosperity looms,
freedom and possibility becoming
replaced by ideas of fairness
proven to fail.

New traditions are forming,
ugly traditions of hate and oppression,
urging the destruction of success,
to be replaced by the cult of dependence,
mass poverty and group identification.

A nation founded on ideas
of individual achievement and freedom
slowly falls to the old ways it once rejected.
The elites again become powerful pretending
to be shepherds,
while the people willingly march
to the slaughter.

Four More Years...?

............ .Loosely written for the Trifecta prompt to use ‘survive’. Also posted to Open Link Night at dVerse. Happy New Year? I have my doubts.



Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

20 responses to “A Matter of Tradition

  1. I am going to hope for a better tomorrow…and hope that in 2012 there were some lessons learned.

  2. This is really powerful and good.

  3. strong poem firmly based in reality mark…a scary reality…i had the beans and greens, dang i missed the ham…figures…smiles…happy new year man…

  4. Just returning from the inlaws…I think we met the requirements for the superstition…holy smokes! You know what I think (evil giggle) I think we need someone who has the courage to bring forth a whole new way of thinking…someone with intelligence, compassion, spirit, and soul! We’ve reached a tipping point…the present system has collapsed in upon itself…has run it’s course…as they all do…going backwards is not the answer…though it might be a bandaid for some…we need to toss our overused vocabulary, our labels and prejudices, and get to improving the world…and Happy New Year Free thinker…love your spirit and your words!

  5. Laurie Kolp

    Just finished a dinner of the same, will keep my fingers crossed for the rest. It’s a sad situation.

  6. I so relate to that:
    “A year ended which held
    little positive,
    to say “I was able to survive”
    being the best we can take away.”
    But I came upon a quote that gave me hope today: “There are years that ask questions and years that answer” (Zora Neale Hurston). May it bring you hope as well… at least a tiny bit.

  7. I’m with you all the way on this one, Mark. Very well said.

  8. A powerful poem, well written, and its form masterful. It’s sentimements understandable given today’s polity. Much enjoyed these beautiful poem

  9. I agree that we are at a tipping point. I am reluctant to be led to slaughter personally–although I know many who go without a peep! Really well done!

  10. You really cut through the layers and get right down to the core in this poem. Seeing the superstitions as way of glossing over a very disturbing reality, and also tapping into what is actually happening in our society despite the age-old, ‘happy new year’, really serves as a reminder, a reality check. Your 2nd stanza was brilliant. A very moving piece.

  11. Very moving… troubling and true. Sadly, too few are willing to take a stand, and so they willingly march as you said, to the slaughter.

  12. loved to learn about that tradition…and then you paint quite a dark picture with powerful strokes..not an easy time to be alive..but then…it never was i guess..happy new year mark

  13. I wish this weren’t so, but I can’t disagree. Well told tale of reality. If enough of us read words like these maybe we can halt the slaughter.

  14. stuartmcphersonpoet

    if eating those black eyed peas gives hope, then keep on eating them….powerful political piece Mark

  15. I feel this, completely. But I still have hope.

  16. Powerful piece, voicing much that we all ponder about. It brought to mind the quote:
    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke
    I think most of us are inherently good. We must be ever hopeful that the new year will be better than the last, and vigilant enough to make it so.

  17. kymminbarcelona

    The entire first stanza is wonderful, and this is remarkable:
    We adhere to these conventions
    and hope a superstition can improve
    our situation.

  18. Draug419

    This whole piece is too true. I do hope 2013 will be better and we’ll see improvement!

  19. We used to eat those black-eyed peas when I was a girl. Yes, then things were much better in the world. Strong write, Mark on a stark reality.


  20. Your words sum it up so well. Describes how a lot of us are feeling.

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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