A Sunday Afternoon Poem

"Damocles Fallen" by Barbara Pope Peckham


A gray cloud hangs ominously

On the horizon, overshadowing

The last golden rays of the sun.

Below, Damocles waits;

The sword hangs by a hair!

In a great white building

Men and women squabble -

Moving chess pieces to

Make decisions that affect

Crises of lives and livelihoods,

One-upmanship the game of the day.


Meanwhile the black cloud grows,

And thunder begins to rumble.

Lightning flashes in the cloud.

A man comes out of the building -

Waving and crying triumphantly,

“We got what we wanted!”

And the thunder rolls, and brilliant

Bolts of lightning strike the ground.

The rains come, and the winds whip,

Tearing the shelter from those

Flinching helpless, beneath.


Jobs vanish; the sick have no succor.

Wall Street flails from the

Shock waves of decisions forged

At the last possible minute

By the heedless powers that be.

Reverberations circle the globe,

Shaking the foundations of

Of our integrity and credibility.

In the terrible ensuing storm,

Hopes for the future are dashed,

And Damocles is truly lost,

For the sword has fallen!

~Barbara P. Peckham


Barbara P. Peckham is a graduate of Syracuse University. President of the Syracuse Vasser Club Society. Woman’s Page Editor for the New Haven, CT, Journal-Courier. Wrote radio and television commercials for public radio and television. Grade school teacher for 24 years. Received Teacher of the Year Award from the Marcellus, NY, Rotary Club. Member of the Oak Bluffs Public Library Thursday Writing Group. President emeritus of the League of Women Voters of Martha’s Vineyard. Learned poetry from her mother in childhood. Author of 2010 poetry book, “A Jar of Summer, And Other Poems.” Barbara lives in Oak Bluffs with her husband, Doug.


About this column: This Sunday Afternoon Poem is provided by the Martha's Vineyard Poetry Society (MVPS). With almost 200 members, MVPS is the island's largest poetry society. MVPS is responsible for nominating and selecting our island's Martha's Vineyard Poet Laureate.


Holly Nadler December 10, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Stunning poem, Barbara! I'd love to hear it read at major protest demonstrations!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »