When the forsaken city starts to burn,
after the men and children have fled,
stand still, silent as prey, and slowly turn

back. Behold the curse. Stay and mourn
the collapsing doorways, the unbroken bread
in the forsaken city starting to burn.

Don’t flinch. Don’t join in.
Resist the righteous scurry and instead
stand still, silent as prey. Slowly turn

your thoughts away from escape: the iron
gates unlatched, the responsibilities shed.
When the forsaken city starts to burn,

surrender to your calling, show concern
for those who remain. Come to a dead
standstill. Silent as prey, slowly turn

into something essential. Learn
the names of the fallen. Refuse to run ahead
when the forsaken city starts to burn.
Stand still and silent. Pray. Return.

What People are Saying

"I understand the expression and understanding and recitation of the POL poems, but it was more that I didn't realize how much this opportunity would mean to me, or how much it would impact how I feel about my future ... I feel my blood running and heart pounding each time I think of my POL poems and teaching them to people."
Taylor Rogers
2015 MT POL Champion