Douglas Colston‘s poem: The Spatha of posthumous slander

We often hear

casual slanders bandied about

the dead …


on occasions,

“It was well known

that he was a paedophile”

(which might even be uttered

by lawyers at a coronial enquiry).

Whether unsubstantiated slander

or truth,

when put on the table –

without prior judicial confirmation –

they also say a great deal

about those that have acted

as willing or witless

co-conspirators in nefarious activity

that have stood by

(often for many years)


Rather than waste time

or attempt to curry favour

by slandering the dead,

genuine public crusaders

should hold such collaborators

that are still alive

to account –


in part,

creating a moral imperative

for others to stand against injustice

in a timely manner

instead of the time-worn trope of

conspiring through silence.

Douglas Colston – who finds himself approaching his mid-50s and living at the Sunshine Coast in Australia – has played in Ska bands, picked up university degrees, supported his parents during terminal illnesses, married his love, fathered two great children, had his inheritance embezzled, transitioned into Counselling as a vocation and experienced chronic mental and physical illnesses consequential to workplace harassment. Now, among other things, he is pursuing a PhD. As for his publishing history throughout 2022, his fiction, nonfiction and poetry has been published in traditional and online anthologies and journals including: POETiCA REViEW; Otherwise Engaged Literary and Arts Journal; Written Tales; Inlandia; The Graveyard Zine; The Antonym; Rue Scribe; Mercury Retrograde; The Seattle Star; Revue {R}évolution; Impspired; Ygdrasil, A Journal of the Poetic Arts; New Note Poetry; Red Door Magazine; and New World Writing.

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