The house style is imperial, conservative in dress and etiquette,
Vestments and head wear are de rigeur.
Superiors are approached with bowed heads
And addressed as Sir,Your Worship, Mrs or Madam,
Depending on their place in the hierarchy.
The peasants and minor clerks, have long known their place.
Patronage is too generous to jeopardise through flippant challenge.
Only the very young or very odd take a stance, adopt an attitude.
The elders know the young will change with time.
But the odd ones?
The scholars make their pronouncements
But each has a price
The state is managed by the business class masquerading
As public servants
The military have their own agendas
They all eat from the same bowl
The malcontents wear their hair over their collars.
They take their rations to the street
And meet conspiratorially in local inns,
Considering the bleakness of their future,
Unwilling to take the role of drones but seeing no alternative
The heretics plot into their cups
But escape is their horizon, not rebellion.
Even their spokespeople are resigned to the easy peace of compromise.
The war is over, the writing on the wall.
Only an idiot or hero would think otherwise.
Respect, order,duty, obediance are the watchwords
The opposition is demoted, exiled or deleted.
The new way is the best way, the only way.
It is official, society no longer exists
The old bonds evaporate before their eyes
He considers the options, bend or break
Or strike out to the frontier before being sent
Crisis has upset the equilibrium, things fall apart
He studies the turtle shell, packs his scrolls,
And walks off westwards into the setting sun.