Wednesday, 21 October 2015


“The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.” - Confucius

This week, Poets United is rather ponderous, with its mid-week motif being “gravity”. I went back to basics with this one, especially after being disappointed by the 2013 film “Gravity”… Here is my contribution:

Forgotten Meanings

Gravitas, pietas, dignitas and virtus:
The wise and good Roman held them in high esteem,
And lived his life informed by their good counsel,
Knowing that his house was ordered and his life was balanced.

Gravitas: Decorum and seriousness, where it was apt –
Respect of place and of other people, solemnity of occasion.
Gravity lacked by our bickering politicians, our judges and our lawmakers
Its meaning forgotten as they cachinnate and waste time
In pointless debate over trifles, while matters of import are adjourned…

Pietas: Devotion, respect to country, God and parents,
Deference to the holy, to sacred institutions and beliefs.
Piety lacked by our paedophile priests who make a mockery of their vows;
Defilement of country and heritage by the money grubbing traitors,
Children who turn parricides, repaying love with murder.

Dignitas: Nobility and authority, good reputation
And ability to command the high esteem of others.
Dignity lacked by lacklustre royalty whose scandals shock the world,
Corrupt business people whose lack of ethics harm people and planet,
Academics whose impartiality is sold to the highest bidder.

Virtus: Valour and strength, courage and manliness,
Excellence of character and high moral fibre.
Virtue lacked by the wife-basher and man who abuses women,
The drunk, the calumniator, the envious and the unworthy,
All who live life as dictated by Mammon.

Gravitas, pietas, dignitas and virtus:
Forgotten meanings in our modern world and wondrous civilisation;
Words that are quaint, passé, irrelevant and curiously obsolete…
   "Oh, wonder!
   How many goodly creatures are there here!
   How beauteous mankind is!
   O brave new world,
   That has such people in ’t!"


  1. Well, you did warn us! And yes it is a serious piece but sometimes these things need saying.

  2. Wow! Never have I seen such a poetic and powerful recommendation that we re-consider classical Roman virtues! Beautifully structured with my favorite Shakespeare quote at end. I love the word "cachinnate" which is new to me, but must be the source of the word "cackle." I think cachinnate is not as friendly as cackle, and must include the snide sneer of those betray the welfare of others!

  3. Would be a better world indeed...

  4. Such a wonderful composition this is .. glorious write :D

  5. An accurate view of how far modern man has fallen from the old and true virtues. This is a really thought-provoking response to the prompt. So well done, Nicholas!

  6. I like this response to the prompt---Rome was a force because of these virtues

  7. We need to get back to these old values, I think. We have strayed too far!
    I like the unique approach of your poem. And your serious look at the way
    things were and the way things are.

  8. Sadly we are no longer ruled by commonsense and fairness but by Mammon and we relish it as we are such fools.

  9. I had no idea Brave New World was derived from a Shakespeare quote. We need one anyway. One not driven by the greed and money but since it has always been like that I think we may have to accept that it is part of humanity..Those few who are not like that should count themselves lucky to have survived this far.

  10. A wonderful poem and social commentary - perhaps dignity and valour are reserved for us little folk who hopefully aim to treat people well and make life as bearable as possible

  11. A great walk back to preping for the gre.

  12. There is despair and sadness in this poem, Nicholas, but also a sense of irony highlighted especially by the last stanza incorporating the Shakespeare quote. Fantastic read!