Fiddling While Rome Burns

Scattered bites of joy in the face of abject suffering

Prying kindness off forked tongues

(Must I wrest my happy from the jaws of monsters?)

Satiating bloodlust of the drunken masses

(If I relish this small joy I found, will it land like salt on your unhealed wounds?)

Don’t look to me to ease your sorrow

If I cannot save the burning city, then I shall glory, unapologetically, in its dazzling demise


Author: ebonyandcrows

Hello and welcome to my page~ My name is Larisa--a very common Slavic name that was either derived from the Latin word hilaris, meaning "cheerful," or from the Greek city of Larissa, meaning "strong fortress." Born in Ukraine, I emigrated with my family to America when I was still a small child and now make my home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Growing up immersed in two vastly differing cultures led me to have a burning curiosity about people all over the world. Stemming from said curiosity, I have fallen in love with traveling to other countries, meeting new people and delving into their culture, exploring new cities, and of course, dining on the local cuisine! If I cannot escape into a different country, then my next favorite method of adventure is to lose myself in a spectacular book. I enjoy books of all genres--from fiction and novels, to biographies and ethnographies. As long as it captures my fancy and holds me spellbound the entire time, I will burn through the book like a forest fire! Because of this penchant for reading and travel, coupled with my love of deep and mysterious things, I have been often called a dreamer and I find the title suits me. With that being said, I invite you to stay a while, perhaps make yourself a cup of tea and linger through my posts and feel free to comment or share a thought :-)

47 thoughts on “Fiddling While Rome Burns”

  1. Larisa! The power of this leaves me speechless. I love the use of italics to emphasise and heighten. I feel like I want to fight my way into this blaze and revel with you while we take what we can from it’s relentless afterburn. If you did your best, what more can you do? You can’t just let yourself smolder aimlessly forever.

    “If I cannot save the burning city, then I shall glory, unapologetically, in its dazzling blaze”


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, my dearest Rachel. I honestly had no idea what I was doing with this poem, to be completely honest. There is this thought that I have been struggling with for several months and it is this: is it moral to revel in joy when someone close to you is suffering? Or are we to carry the guilt of having found joy, however big or small, when others in your life are going through a dark valley? And if I’ve poured myself completely out, and there is nothing more I can do, can I finally just let the chips fall where they may? There is a sense of blissful freedom in that, and allows one to appreciate the beauty in something that is otherwise to be shunned. Anyway, this poem is an amalgamation of my scattered thoughts, and I’m not sure I’ve found the answer yet, but I’m closer to it everyday. And you, my friend, captured the essence of it.

      Thank you for jumping inside this poem with me and dancing briefly amongst the flames ♥️

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Your writing is so thought provoking but so beautiful. It is difficult to feel it’s ok to feel joy when someone else is suffering. The implications and applications of that are so broad….
        I’m very glad you amalgamated your thoughts, you created something so beautiful with them. ❤️

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, sir Lemon Stingray Blues, for sharing your impression of this poem. You are right, it is angry and choppy and also a little bit unsure until it finally crescendoes to a place of acceptance and even a welcoming of what is. I appreciate your kind comment—my lovely readers truly validate everything I put into words.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Or are we to carry the guilt of having found joy, however big or small, when others in your life are going through a dark valley?”

    The eternal conundrum. The poem captured this essence wonderfully, and posits that situation in which we find ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rooobbbbbb why can’t we just go back to the uncomplicated business of being kids again! Well, at least in our approaches to things like stress, or, well, everything else adults approach all wrong. [Insert list here] I like that word ‘posit’ that you used there ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wish it could be that way again. Your comment recalls a Bowie song from early in his career:

        The children of the summer’s end
        Gathered in the dampened grass,
        We played Our songs and felt the London sky
        Resting on our hands
        It was God’s land.
        It was ragged and naive.
        It was Heaven.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. The biggest of Thank You’s to you, my darling friend. Seriously, wrapped in balloons and sparkling confetti and curly streamers..well maybe that ‘thank you’ looks like a giant unicorn mess but nevertheless, thank you a million times over ☺️💕

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your feedback, I appreciate your thoughts. I completely understand your struggle since it is one I am actually intimately acquainted with. But I feel that at some point after suffering for a long enough period of time, you start to understand that everyone has a free will and that sometimes people choose the sufferings that they are in—whether they know it or not. I’ve realized with people that it is nigh impossible to change their mindset. If someone grew up believing a certain way, it is almost pointless to get them to change their way of thinking or being or doing. Oftentimes those mindsets allow them to be fearful of certain things, or xenophobic, or completely closed off and it spills out into their relationships and the way they relate to the world and it can cause them to suffer in areas of their life as a result. And that’s when you realize that you simply can’t save everyone and that sometimes you just have to leave people to the flames they consistently create themselves until they realize what the root of their own problem is. Anyway, this answer may be a little more than you bargained for, but I hope it makes sense!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh, the power in questions such as these that light fires in the minds of men! It’s as if you’re dancing on top of the burning city of our hearts; taking delight in each of us who is now wrestling with the monster of this conundrum. Genuine. Unashamed. Consequential. Definitely my new favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. The only way I’d be okay with a snowstorm is if I didn’t have to work for the duration of the storm. Usually I have to work from home if it snows and (this is a first world problem, I know) I feel cramped using my laptop when I’m used to two monitors, and I don’t have all of my office tools at my fingertips. I swear, I’d probably be okay with like 4 monitors lol. Hopefully the dog won’t make any more appearances!

          Liked by 1 person

            1. I do like it 😊 I am an office manager/executive assistant/everything else that I need to be for a nonprofit organization with a very small staff.

              Thanks! I think I am simply incapable of being anything less than honest anymore. I just don’t have the space in my mind for anything other than what is.

              Liked by 2 people

  4. Too much duplicity between human beings. Be happy, appreciate the moments of joy we encounter because frankly, they can few and far between. And most important, feel joy for others when they find it. We are in this life together not alone.
    Something that this experienced existential depression-ist had to work through to find this point of reason, embracing that human beings are not alone, has come full circle with.
    The ending of this was fabulous 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Love how you expressed this. Depression fully isolates those who have the misfortune to fall into its depths, and every person who experiences it feels they are completely all alone in the world. The irony is that the million other depression-sufferers are feeling this exact same thing. I’ve also learned to find joy in others joy as well, simply because reality does prove that it can be one of the most elusive possessions in humanity’s grasp. And there have been times that the only joy I had was by vicariously living it through another persons good fortune. Thank you for the thoughtful and lovely comment 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Don’t know how I missed this one. Wow!

    Revel now, the city is burning!
    And hope!
    May what rises from the ashes
    carry us on wings
    purified by flame
    stained by sorrow
    strengthened by courage
    tempered by loss
    to a place
    where we that passed through fear
    can rest and find comfort
    in the embrace
    of those we love

    You always inspire!
    Would you mind if I post this poem?

    Liked by 1 person

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