Rattler’s Tale #5

by Anthony North
Friday Fictioneers
Poets & Storytellers United
The Sunday Muse
in association with

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot


The philosopher sat back in his chair on the roof, watching the urban sprawl.
He soon began to notice the obvious – he saw the history of man.
He saw the old churches, testament to when the biggest buildings reflected God.
In the far distance, he saw now silent factories, as industry ravaged the planet.
And he saw the towering banks, as money ravaged society.
And finally he looked below him, at the squalor on the edge.
And he thought: nothing changes.


Where have all the millions gone …
The old man hadn’t a clue. One minute they were there, then …
Covid 19 – or was it inevitable after the Downturn, or this, or that …
… or maybe – just maybe – his own greed.
He cried as they towed away his Rolls Royce, repossessed his mansion.
And designer suit swapped for jeans and t-shirt …
He was on the road again.
Back to his roots – his destitute roots.
‘When will they ever learn?’
The question nagged at him as the days passed, his stomach empty.
Slowly his depression increased, until …
He mouthed: ‘When will I ever learn?’
The sun shone then. He was back in the Beat Generation, Kerouac his guru.
He remembered the lines of the Beat Poets …
‘Gone to graveyards, every one.’
And their dreams.
Maybe it was in the name.
Their naivety.
Their hopes of changing history.
Why does life always beat poets?

Book 28 of 68, A Family Loss: A Crime cum Horror Novel, out 27 April

94 comments on “Rattler’s Tale #5

  1. Scarier than the current global situation is what comes next. As your story suggests, it is likely that it is the poor who will once again suffer the most during the recovery.

  2. There is always a higher pillar to be raised for Gods and Greed… but I think it always grows out of squalor

    1. Thanks for that, Na’ama. By the way, I’ve just been on Jade’s blog and I thought you’d like to know that I comment on yours using my twitter acct because the automatic wordpress comment form is different on yours and several other blogs. Why, I don’t know, but I’m happy to comment on yours thru my twitter,so no problem.

  3. Poor philosopher! He looks at squalor and fails to see the beauty of the love in the lives being lived there.

  4. Well, actually things do change–change never sleeps, but human nature does not change. Trump builds towers, then defaults on paying for them, and chaos and corruption make poor foundations. You and Bjorn were of the same mind tonight, it seems.

  5. And finally he looked below him,
    at the squalor on the edge.
    And he thought: nothing changes.

    And so it is, and history repeats itself only the players are different every time


  6. Well observed and thoughtful story, Anthony. Civilisations rise and fall and the nature of man remains the same.

  7. It is interesting that the philosopher is looking down from the roof, where he has a chair and is able to see everything – buildings that have become symbols. It is true, nothing changes.

  8. Humanity certainly has a few faults mainly because it doesn’t learn lessons from the past because they are overconfident thinking they have it all worked out. Oops ! That sounds as though I am talking about the Covid crisis!

  9. Two very expressive poems, encapsulating so much of what is happening right now. The last line of your Kerouac piece is almost fateful, and taken together, the two make a powerful didactic tool.

  10. Interesting conjuction–I find myself wondering how the philosopher managed to both see and overlook the snake-eating-its-tail of the second poem.

  11. Luv the image of the persona today, looking out at his history, this is incredible
    Happy you dropped by my sumie Sunday today Anthony


  12. Very enjoyable read! And I chuckled at your witty but serious last line. [But really, you know, it was the wonderful Pete Seeger, not one of (equally wonderful) beat poets, who wrote that ‘graveyards’ line.]

    1. Many thanks Rosemary. And yes, I knew the line was Seeger’s, but bearing in mind the title and 2 earlier quotes from the song, I decided I could get away with a little poetic licence.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *