“The Temple,” “Alexandria” and “Mother’s Lament”


The Temple

In my early, disruptive thirties,

I wondered through

An aimless, broken land,

With a slew of past sins as my guide.

Along my travels,

I found a temple made of marble stone

Standing in the middle of nowhere.

Inside, nine disciples

Of Man, Woman and Beast

Sat around a table,

Feasting upon cuisine from their respected lands

While sharing stories of wonderment and loss.

They welcomed me into their ranks,

Offering food and wine

And a chair to rest upon.

Between the melancholy and merriment,

They looked to me and asked

Where my travels would take me.

I spoke of wondering

With no end in sight,

Ready to sleep upon the ground

So I would free myself

Of all my past sins.

One-by-one, they drank in my honor

And said,

“We’ve seen you fall

A hundred times.

And in those hundred, we’ve seen you rise

Ninety-nine times.

We were once as lost as you,

But through the company of friends and strangers,

We brought ourselves back to the light.

Never falter.

When the road isn’t clear and the light is twisted,

Look to us, and we will help

Guide your way.

As we finished our meals and said our farewells.

As I left, I turned to ask

If we should meet again,

And found the temple vanished

With no trace of its existence.

I continued onward,

Wondering to this very day

If what I saw was real or not.


Who would have thought

That a land with philosophers, thinkers, scholars and teachers,

Passing down treasured purveyor to life’s many ideas,

Would have transformed into

A multicultural, religious zealot infused cesspool

Of violent disagreements?

Who would have thought it?

Did it ever occur to those

Pagans, Christians, Jews and Muslims

To take their violent tenancies

Outside the boundaries of their home,

So well to do, like minded beings

May share a cup of knowledge after a day of thought?

Did they stop and think?

Were the streets ever crowded

With chanters, preachers, fascists and solders

Protesting justice against unwanted invaders,

While rioters disguised themselves

Crafting bonfires filled with knowledge

And deporting innocents into a pit called religious transformation?

Was it ever crowded?

How hard was it

For those deities of Egypt and Greece

To watch their temples and statues

Become smeared with racial graffiti,

Or broken down into dust and debris

Just to be replaced by the next generation’s beliefs?

How hard was it for them?

How would the king,

Who showed the world his smarts and divinity

Through pure, unrelenting willpower,

Would have felt knowing that

His once great bastion of open wisdom

Became a controversial pit of societal dysfunction to the world?

How would he have felt?

Mother’s Lament

Poor Grendel.

I understood you.

Once, I ran to catch the sun

So spring would always stay.

The more I gave chase,

The less I embrace

All the pleasures of home for my mind.

Poor Grendel.

Running from your home,

Chasing the universe for knowledge to hold

Between both your fingers.

Like the ox and boar,

We’re beasts, nothing more.

Why fool yourself thinking you’re better?

Poor Grendel.

Humans have always

Designed the world into their own making

So they can be happy.

Truth is always plain.

It drives Men insane

When their reality is broken.

Poor Grendel.

What will I do now

That you are gone, and I remain

In dark isolation?

Shall I catch a Dane

And bear one more Cain

To clean your bed of your existence?

Poor Grendel.

Let men know nothing

Of the cosmos you've chased,

While dirt and weeds claim you.

Your face now appealed

Throughout the King's halls,

Trading a son for a wild beast.

About the Author

Nathan Mears

Nathan Mears began writing as a serious business in 2019. His work has been featured on The Write Launch and Horror MTL's anthology, 101 Proof Horror. When not writing, he can be found reading or hiking up and down one of the many hiking trails in his home. He lives in Oregon.