Ludi Matutini 2761 AUC (Nova Roma)/Literary Contest I/Winning Entry
Shall I speak of virtue now, or
Virtue's bastard child
born of our modern world?
His words fall harsh as ashes:
"I have rejected all the pleasures
the Gods have given to humankind.
I suffer, endure, I moan, shun joy –
Hail me, for Virtuous is my name – my ploy!"
Simpering, sniveling fraud! Of
Virtue you know the sound but not the fury,
nor the courage to reach and risk and fight
for all that the Gods gave, when They gave life.
Our arms today have grown too weak to draw
from the deep wells of pleasure
the clear water of life's source,
content instead with rut and arousal.
We are become perverse virgins,
never penetrated by respect. Now,
virginity is cause for guffaw; our leering sneers
mock the Gods and this greatest of gifts.
Rage also we know, blind and brutal,
random, reactive, destructive,
this homeless, earth-bound marauder.
We trade terror for anger, hurt for vengeance.
We are ignorant of the fire that rises
from the Divine forge: burning Fury,
a tool to heat and temper and shape:
understood, directed, active, initiative.
How did we come to be in this ash-pit,
petty and stinking, our noses in the dirt?
Making up rules so that
we might have sins to confess?
Sin: the cheap brass coin we use
to purchase tawdry scraps of fame.
What have we done
with the coin of the Gods?
That golden standard, solid, simple – Pietas,
which the Gods have inspired in humankind,
Divinely pressed into our hearts, our hands, our souls
on the morning of our birth, to treasure beyond death?
Pietas, which rises in the soul like the sun,
illuminating all the details of our days;
Pietas – radiant, penetrating, reflecting, knowing
that before all else, this is the Virtue prime.
To rise each morning in Pietas
is to greet each day as a **new** day --
truly, cheerfully, and from the heart,
grateful to the Gods for the Life they have given.
The flame of Life inspires the furious soul;
the furious soul is aflame with Life.
So fan the fire that rises
from the Divine forge.
Heat and temper and shape
what the Gods have given.
Understand, direct, act, initiate:
let your furious soul be aflame with Life!
C. Aurelia Falco Silvana