The Oration Poem

The Oration Poem By Carolyn Kizer

The boldest thing I ever did was to save a savior.
I reached heights of eloquence never achieved before
Or since. My speech turned the mob around!
They lifted the rood from his back, they dropped to the ground
Their nails and flails. But the whole time I spoke
(It’s a wonder it didn’t throw me off my stride)
The prophet or seer or savior, whatever you care to call him,
Kept groaning and muttering, telling me to be silent.

He was mad of course, so I simply ignored him. Poor fellow,
The beating they had given him must have turned his wits.

Every ounce of persuasion it took to convince the crowd
in the powerful sun, including the priests and his followers,
Exhausted me utterly. When I was sure he was safe,

The ungrateful fellow! I took my way home and collapsed
On my cushions with chilled wine. Then, I heard later,

The savior harangued the mob with outrageous statements
That roused them to fury anew: he denounced the priesthood
As corrupt; he pronounced himself king of the world;

He said God was his father. So they strung him up again.
A violent thunderstorm woke me to a sky full of lightning
So I rushed out in the rain, forgetting my cloak,

And found him dead and alone except for a handful of women
Weeping and carrying on. Well, it taught me a lesson,

To mind my own business—Why, the crowd might have turned on me!
Still, I have to be proud of my eloquence.
It was the speech of my life.

The Oration Poem

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