The Rules of the Caste

What ideology is worth a life

A child, a lover, a husband or wife

Yet power holds fast to the reins of the past

Peace relinquishes to the rule of the caste

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No mercy cut with a surgeon's knife

Slowly, cruelty heightens the strife

Darkness hides in a mask the light recast

Yet, peace surrenders to the rule of the caste

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Rouge the lie that colors the lip

Where purity flies on a poisonous tip

And the Khmer's hand takes control of the mast

Peace surrenders to the rule of the caste

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What purpose sets sail to death's cargo ship

What evil wind chokes innocence in its grip

Where bad turns good into glass

And peace surrenders to the rule of the caste

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The final stand on a one-way trip

Naked, without a bargaining chip

Unwilling truths bared at long last

Peace holds court the sins of the caste

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Comments 13 comments

Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Good show Amy B.! I'm happy, Ive lost another 10 lbs. for a total of 30.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thank you, Perspycacious. Congratulations on success with your endeavor, but be careful. Your photo doesn't look like a man who needs to lose any weight.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and awesome. I think there is some rule to everything and unfortunately sometimes we have to bow to the powers that be.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thank you, Gypsy. I've found in the last two years that the only thing I can control in life is myself. I will never bow to what I don't accept. It's all I really own. I realize, of course, that in the scheme of things I am irrelevant. Yet, I must live with myself. I cannot change anything or anyone but myself. Writing, though, gives me a voice. Your support gives me courage. Thank you!


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 4 years ago from Texas

Breaking free from the place in life where people are stuck is a monumental task. Many have tried and failed. Things will happen beyond your control, but that doesn't mean you should go without a fight. Jump in the battle, and let the weak minded get out of your way.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

Amy...you have such an artistic talent..your words are not only intelligent and insightful, but poetically beautiful. True poetry. While reading this, I find myself "what ideology is worth a life...a child, a lover, a husband or wife..." This is pure and true. What ideology, what belief, what 'standard,' what indoctrination...what is so important that one chooses to end another's life over it? Amazing!!

"What purpose sets sail to death's cargo ship

What evil wind chokes innocence in its grip

Where bad turns good into glass"

Amy, these lines are right on par with Vincent's writing..and I've told him that his work will go down in history as mandatory in philosophy as well as literature studies. Yours, too.

Just beautiful...and deep.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Augustine, I saw a PBS World feature over the weekend about the Khmer Rouge. I have seen some footage before, but the abject brutality, where only the pure, meaning only those that subscribed to the Khmer, were worthy of life, where innocents were imprisoned, tortured, starved and buried in pits, was shocking. The Cambodians had no choices, no options. Despite what history teaches, wars continue. Why does it take war to attain peace and if war is the answer, where is peace? The people may look different, seek different goals, have different cultures, but war reduces lives to less than zero irregardless. They all look terrified, confused and like hunted animals. It is the bitterest irony that history's madmen focused on "purity" as part of an ideology that kills without regard for the sacredness of all life. And no matter which war, the powerless had no options. The innocent were imprisoned, tortured, starved and murdered; they could not fight.

My writing was too obtuse and I got mucked up in the mire of too many ideas and not enough clarity. I got lost in the forest. I appreciate your comments, A.A., because it helps clear the fog from my eyes so I can look at it and try to give it more direction. Thank you for helping me.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Dear Kathy, I am so glad you see something of value in this mishmash of ideas. I told Augustine I watched PBS World and saw a documentary on the Khmer Rouge and was deeply horrified by the films of tortured, brutalized humanity. I don't understand how so many madman throughout history have managed to find the support that allows the perpetuation of so much evil.

The state of confusion and fear of the victims was overwhelming to me and I wrote a conglomerated confusing piece that does not do justice to the injustices suffered. I need to think about this one, let it rest for now, but come back and put clarity into the piece. This is why I value the love I am shown in comments. It gives the writer perspective, shows what is missing, highlights what is good. When I start with an idea, I sense the challenge in writing poetically, but straightforward and with clarity. I know I've missed the mark when the reader struggles because the message is too obtuse. This one has lost its way. And that's o.k. Writing is an adventure and sometimes the more difficult the task, the more is gained. Thank you for your kind words, Kathy, as you always give me something great to ultimately aim for. Love you, my friend.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

Amy, it is not obtuse...your message was not lost or hidden or confusing. The ravages of war, the innocent killed because they belong to or cleave to a different ideology...or were simply born into a belief system which was contrary to those in power...no .. it is clearly written. My feeling is that you have woven in the human condition..not limited (bad BAD word in this case...but I'm sure you see the point)...not confined to one example of atrocities ..which are happening in so many areas of the world today....I'm getting off track...I think this piece is beautiful as it stands. It covers so much of the human experience / and can be interpreted as a direct lament over a unique and individual state of shame and atrocity; man's cruelty against his own kind and/or this bewildered, sorrowful observation can surely be applied to we, damaged human beings. History is a great teacher...on a personal as well as chronological basis...an excellent tool...somehow, as well as she instructs...we have not been able to grasp the message. UP Beautiful Useful, Awesome, Tragic and Interesting.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

Amy...let me say this in another way: You write using quite a bit of metaphor which is my favorite mode of communication..very intelligent and imaginative and you have to have a good grasp of awareness and language to do this. So, I wouldn't change a thing!!


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh, thank you, Kathy. So much... Yes, you see it clearly. I am relieved that you took the time to explain how you interpreted this piece, as your view is exactly what I intended. Thank you for your gift to me. Nothing could make me happier. My tears are from joy!


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 4 years ago

I certainly know irrelevancy. You are relevant to people like Micky Dee. Thanks Amy.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I thought about you, Micky Dee, when I saw the documentary. And, of course, what is seen in the news or on TV, is not living color...not fit for human consumption. Yet, it happened to real people, like it is happening today in Syria and somewhere else tomorrow. I don't see much changing, despite the ugliness of intolerance, seen in man's long history of "the end justifies the means" in wars. I go through times where I am too disheartened to write. I care, but so do many, but ultimately, it doesn't seem to matter. The bottom line is money equals power. I remain powerless to help where it really matters. All I have are words, so, thank you, Micky Dee, for yours. They matter to me.

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