Poem – BARBARIANS AT THE GATES (By Ray Gallucci)





Once Rome attained its pinnacle

Remained on top of things.

Though forces quite inimical

Sought to destruction bring.


Some conquered thought despicable

Rome’s impositioning

Of laws it deemed applicable

When “Pax-Romana”-ing


Four centuries continuous

Spanned Romans’ reign as king

Throughout the lands contiguous



Just like empires classical

From whom such legends spring,

Our nation’s rise seemed magical

By history’s reckoning.


From humble roots so typical,

Achieved our flowering

In mere 300 cyclical

Around-sun orbitings.


Ascended peak unparalleled

Like Rome post-murdering

Of Caesar, when at last we dealt

Atomic shattering.


But, unlike Roman dominance,

Will what’s now happening

Comprise our fall from prominence

In time quite shortening?


For though we think formidable

The battle-axe we swing,

Vietnam left us vulnerable

To skeptics’ questioning.


Although with good intention we’ll

Iraq go barging in,

For sure U.N. convention will

Be us disparaging.


Appropriately cynical

The view to which I cling.

Like Rome, our times are critical –

Fate to the wind we fling.


“Barbarians” fanatical

Are dying to get in.

Adopt we measures radical

To quell their trumpeting.


They brazenly cry “Infidels!”

Attack us from within

The borders of our citadels

Whose walls are growing thin.


Defeating foes maniacal

Made Romans dally in

Techniques as diabolical

And Machiavellian.


But keeping to our principle

Of “Letting freedom ring,”

Consider it impossible

Such draw-and-quartering.


Like Rome we grow complacent,

Though much sooner than they did,

Content with our debasement,

So our reign may be short-lived.


Perhaps like phoenix mythical,

From logs now embering

We’ll rise renewed to heed the call,

Our strength remembering.




Author Bio:

I am a Professional Engineer who has been writing poetry since 1990. I am an incorrigible rhymer, tending toward the skeptical/cynical regarding daily life. I have been fortunate to have been published in poetry magazines and on-line journals such as NUTHOUSE, MOTHER EARTH INTERNATIONAL, FEELINGS/POETS’ PAPER, MÖBIUS (when Jean Hull Herman published), PABLO LENNIS, MUSE OF FIRE, SO YOUNG!, THE AARDVARK ADVENTURER, POETIC LICENSE, THUMBPRINTS, UNLIKELY STORIES, BIBLIOPHILOS, FULLOSIA PRESS, NOMAD’S CHOIR, HIDDEN OAK, PABLO LENNIS, POETSESPRESSO, SOUL FOUNTAIN, WRITER’S JOURNAL, ATLANTIC PACIFIC PRESS, DERONDA REVIEW, LYRIC, THE STORYTELLER, WRITE ON! and DANA LITERARY SOCIETY.