This poem is a dialogue about how we are to act in this moment of cultural decay, when we face a choice between living in lies or taking the path of Benedict.
Two voices vie in my head
Two voices vie in my head:
You must fight and take arms
Against the inquisitors of the plague
You must withdraw behind unsappable walls
To rewrite the City of God without faith.
Two generals order my march:
Hold this trench we dug for you
When you were a private with no arms
Be like Kutuzov; burn this Moscow
So the soul released at Borodino may live.
Two claims contest my heart:
Stand with Max’s ethic of responsibility;
Try to win over the courtiers who despise me.
Accept my defeat to win the peace of truth
And there stand in the sun, dangerous.
Image Credit: Kutuzov at the Fili conference decides to open Moscow to Napoleon. Painting by Aleksey Kivshenko
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