The esteemed guests streamed into the candle lit foyer
And dissolved into a sea of idle courtly ritual,
Landowners, majors, magistrates, slender maidens
And fair matrons all slithered into the modestly gilded hall so
Discreetly adorned by understated gluttony. Their lofty manners,
Their shield ; their feigned courtesy, disguise for icy hearts.
Only a thin veneer of silky decorum coats their acrid tongues,
For them, honest men are but emotional beasts to be
Snared and skinned by slander most gleeful and vicious,
Leaving in their wake their perverse masterpieces—
Hollow shells that would make a taxidermist proud.
Petaled confetti is set adrift upon powdered faces and intricate wigs lost in Laughter, Chatter, and the Clatter of soles ; and as Measured gaits of the Minuet Mingled ‘Mongst The Music and Morphed into the Milieu, well bred ladies politely pricked with veiled Slights of envy, and the men indulged their ornery humor, turning giddy at the sight of Misery, their openly secret delight.
Meandering through the dense meadow of decadent masters are the servants who carry Silver platters of pheasants and plum wine. Their obedient stony facades hide hearts That lust after larceny. Birds of the same feather, separated only by station.
Alas! Heaven cries as it looks down to judge…….King Yama lets out a sigh and asks:
In this hall of monsters, who is modest still?
In this world of wickedness, who is upright still?
In this land of lies…..who is honest still?
Poem inspired by the Taoist Treatise of Response and Retribution moral maxims that warn against: Hiding cruelty and malice behind a gentle facade (offense 66, page 14), To envy those doing well, wishing for them poverty and disgrace (page 11, offense 42), To indulge in excess revelry and luxury (offense 52, page 12) and to Secretly plot to hurt the good and kind (Offense 2, page 4).
The Treatise also teaches that based on the severity of an offense, the offender will be punished by Heaven by having either a period(s) of 3 months or 12 years shaved off his lifespan and accompanying misfortunes (i.e. legal, disasters, illness etc.). Likewise, virtue will lead to an increase of lifespan (by periods of 100 days or 12 years) and various blessings such as wealth, health and prosperity etc.
Public Domain translation with commentary of the Treatise of Response and Retribution:
It is highly recommended that all daily recite this liturgy version of the Treatise. Doing so will eradicate evil karma and draw in a myriad of blessings.
Poem and post released into Public Domain