The Colosseum in Rome: Corroded Counsel

Corroded Counsel by Lori Lipsky

We suffered the queue for two hot hours
In shade near the underbelly of Rome’s
Great Colosseum
To pay and climb steps up and higher
In order to view the rotted and decayed remains
Of a site that was once both
Grand and grotesque

Privileged at last to stand on that platform
Near fellow beings of centuries ago
Who shouted and cheered against sufferers
As a mob of frenzied haters
I wondered how a populace grew
So merciless and cruel— it seemed
Unthinkable such events could occur

But the putrefaction
Of the Colosseum innards
Shouts to us its silent warning
Be kind, be kind

~published by The Penwood Review, fall 2011, volume 15, number 2

photo credits: Colosseum interior from istockphoto


Notes: The final destination of our August 2010 family vacation was Rome, Italy. My biggest surprise of the Mediterranean trip was how much I loved Rome. Everywhere you look, the ancient and modern co-exist. Fascinating.

Standing inside the Colosseum and seeing the rotted remains for the first time impacted me in an unexpected, powerful way.

10 thoughts on “The Colosseum in Rome: Corroded Counsel

  1. I’ve read this poem several times and it never fails to give me goosebumps

  2. I love this one! “Be kind, be kind” . I used to lecture my boys, “Kindness is far more important than coolness, in God’s eyes.”

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