Arrival by Janice D. Soderling


Destruction was our goal
and now we stand, bronze-greaved
and bewildered, at the threshold of the city
we marched so far to subdue.
Our trek was long and arduous
and not without sacrifice.

Here we stand now, spears at the ready,
at the gate they claimed was gold.
But it is hollow wood, and flimsy.
The breath of time alone would bring it down.

For this we left our homes,
lost our young years. For this?
For fresh grief and an old man’s mumblings.
For the plague-stricken streets of an empty city.

by Janice D. Soderling

Editor’s Note: The ambiguity of this poem is both frustrating and intriguing—one wants to know what city, what time this happened, but after further reflection, the narrative can be applied to so many moments in history that the true scope of human nature finally becomes apparent.

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