Commotion Ballad


There’s a commotion, in all we scare and carom.

Security’s picking through a helot’s pocket.

We baffle him for our stance to live.

We’ll see ten more lives, and then forgive.


A potter cries he has a permit.

They say lift his arms and shut his trap.

He’ll see his chance to throw today.

Or so we will when he may.


A zealot approaches.  They shoot him out.

That one does not figure in the ten.

Yes they can have the body back

We don’t want it; it is black.


Once we shared our waters freely.

They were well below our concern.

But once scorched fields grew thick from seeding:

We washed our hands upon the bleeding.


The fields are vested for fixed returns.

There’s plenty there for the potter’s kin.

Well wait to garnish upon default—

Counting helotry, zealotry, torts of fault.


We don’t care they want to meet us—

So long as we can meet them first.

We’ll raise our arms to hail their envoy,

Hear his plight, entrench the convoy.


They kill.  It is their history.

Typically it’s themselves they ruin.

Sometimes it’s we they martyr.

We nod our heads and pump more water.


Steven Ray Smith