The Tears of Cassandra

16 Apr

What mischief compels me return here and write?




If Cassandra could live her life over, would she yield to Apollo to save herself from Ajax and the pain of never being believed whenever she tried to warn her fellow man?

Would we listen to all that escapes her lips, aware that a nameless menace lurks inside the wooden horse of our own complacency? I think not.

Troy fell.

Troy will fall again.

This time our role will not be to doubt Cassandra. This time we won’t even hear her warnings.

When death comes before our time, we can look to the sea for answers. There, in the name of survival, we killed all that we could of the myriad creatures that lived in her embrace and  sowed the seeds of our own diminishment. We will follow the whales, sharks, tuna, sardines and plankton and fertilize a future devoid of us in a sea that has nothing but time in which to grow new mysteries.

We will be a dead branch on the evolutionary tree, a layer of sedimentary rock full of riddles for archeologists (not human) somewhere in time.

It is happening now.

Cassandra weeps.


Cassandra and Ajax

31 Responses to “The Tears of Cassandra”

  1. tedstrutz April 16, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    I’m not sure, but I’m glad to see you!

    • dmmacilroy April 16, 2014 at 8:15 am #

      Dear Ted,

      Thank you for your earlier command to return. I appreciate it. And thanks for reading.



  2. rochellewisoff April 16, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Dear Doug,

    I think I’ll go hang myself now. Oh wait. That’s the whole point of your piece…that’s stunningly written I might ad(verb). We are hanging ourselves. IHN-LY



    • dmmacilroy April 16, 2014 at 8:24 am #

      Dear Rochelle,

      All around us as we speak. Hand me my fiddle, if you please. Thanks for reading. Sorry to post simultaneously with FF. Pure coincidence.



      • rochellewisoff April 16, 2014 at 8:25 am #

        Dear Doug,

        I’m happy to come here and see that Poppy’s not still hanging around in the tree.



  3. Dee April 16, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Dear Doug

    You are absolutely spot on with this stunning observational piece. Unless one day mankind learns that we can’t go on taking, there will be nothing left to take. Given the state of the world today, that’s a huge ask!

    It is so good to see you back writing Doug, I have missed you. I know others feel the same. I first ‘met’ you through FF and hugely appreciated your comments on my writing, and your brilliant observations on life. I hope you stay around a while longer.

    Best wishes


    PS. It was great to see you used Solomon’s painting at the end of your piece. His painting of St George is one of my favourites. D

    • dmmacilroy April 16, 2014 at 10:03 am #

      Dear Dee,

      You are kind to read and comment on my piece. I admit to being extremely frustrated with ‘mankind’ to the point of wanting to resign from the team. Robert Heinlein said, “Sure the game is rigged, but if you don’t play, you can’t win.” So I decided it was time to say something again. One never knows where the ripples from a small stone tossed in the ocean may end up.

      I fear for us, Dee. Humans are geared for instant gratification and rarely do anything intelligent for the long term. (I know that’s a huge generalization, but I’m running with it.) People like you, who are conscious and articulate, are one of the only chances we have to forestall the day of reckoning. Food wars, water wars, fishing rights wars….Law of the Sea that no one obeys. Excuses from every side…

      Good luck to us all, right?

      I appreciate you speaking to me here and being so generous with your compliments. Now I’m going to go educate myself re Solomon. It is a powerful painting.

      Best wishes back at you.



  4. misskzebra April 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    Last year, as part of my degree, I did research into alternative sources of the Omega 3 acids found in fish. I fail to understand how anyone can look at the figures on overfishing, or the environmental damage done my farmed fishing, and not agree what a huge issue this is.

    What’s worse is that overfishing is only one of the huge problems plaguing our food chain.

    • dmmacilroy April 16, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

      Dear Misskz,

      People are just wondering where their next meal is coming from. No one is looking at figures and when they do, they don’t know what to do. Chickens are coming home to roost… slowly….but surely. It is all connected and it is happening now.

      Thanks for dropping by to read. Not exactly light fare, but it was weighing heavily on my mind.

      Cassandra out.



  5. elmowrites April 16, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Cheer up, Doug, it might never happen! Right? Oh. It’s already happening, darn. OK, well I’ve got a bucket of sand here if you want to join in the collective head-burying? At least sand is never likely to be in short supply.
    An eloquent warning as usual, Sir, although I was disappointed it wasn’t a response to your photo prompt (thanks for that). My only constructive comment for you is “before our time” didn’t feel quite right. I think if we go, it will only be after we’ve well and truly out-stayed our welcome.

    • dmmacilroy April 16, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      Dear Jennifer,

      Back in the hey-days of the 70’s there was a poster that showed God saying to the people of earth….. “Earth, this is God, i want all of you people out of there by the end of the month, I have a client who’s interested in the property…” That kind of fits where we are right now. This piece is not so much a warning as a reflection on the woes of Cassandra or anyone else who raises their voice in alarm. People just keep on trucking form one generation to the next, wondering little and then reacting with amazement when it all falls down around them. You don’t have to worry. Temperate zones are going to be moving north over the years. Buy land now and stand by for the northward migration.

      Thanks for reading this and commenting. This is the golden age of instant communication. Thought I’d use the medium while it’s still around.

      I hope all is well with you and yours.



  6. bridgesareforburning April 16, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    Hi Doug, Great piece. I think it’s so fitting for you, a person of the undersea, to be pointing out what we are doing to the oceans. I thought it was interesting when they were searching for the Malaysian airliner that they kept finding debris in the middle of the ocean, but it wasn’t the airliner. It was that we have made the ocean a dumping ground. When the ocean is dead, so will we be. Ron

    On Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 3:08 AM, ironwoodwind

    • dmmacilroy April 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

      Dear Ron,

      And it is up to you, who is burdened with understanding, to carry the torch for the sea and all that live within it.

      Thank you for reading, Ron. I’ve always appreciated your thoughtful insights on the world and our journey on it.



  7. rgayer55 April 18, 2014 at 2:27 am #

    A voice crying in the wilderness. They laughed at Noah too, didn’t they? But it didn’t change the reality of what came to pass. I have missed reading your words and thank you for sharing your talent with us once again.

    • dmmacilroy April 18, 2014 at 3:54 am #

      Dear Russell,

      No, dear friend, thank you….for reading and for telling me I was missed. I appreciate this gift more than you know.

      Cassandra’s tears are for for the knowledge that this time no one is even listening. Perhaps my re-entry onto these pages after three and a half months is about more than I realized.

      I triply enjoyed your FF story this week, by the way. Thanks for that, too.



  8. Sandra April 18, 2014 at 6:40 am #

    Glad to read something from you again Doug, and as someone who spends a lot of time navigating between the flotsam and jetsam of modern life (in more ways than one) I can only concur with your sentiments. You’re pushing against an open door here, as they say. Sadly it’s not a door that people care to notice let alone choose to cross. I hope you won’t stay away from FF for long. But I suspect you will.

  9. dmmacilroy April 18, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    Dear Sandra,

    If I was in France I would ride my bicycle from lock to lock and open them for you as you motored by. I’d wave and deliver coffee and baguettes and cheese and then I’d hurry off to stay ahead of you. You are dear to me and I thank you for dropping by to read.

    This bit is a reflection about how Cassandra would feel (perhaps you feel more than a little bit of a connection because of your name) nowadays and not about the challenges we face. I am convinced we as a species have already failed the test. What is coming is consequence and we each must face the storm in whatever way we feel is best.

    Me? I’ll be on the bridge, at the helm, doing what i can until the waves take me.

    You are a great writer and a better friend.



  10. Sun April 19, 2014 at 2:35 am #

    well, thank you for your photo this week over at Friday Fictioneers, Doug. 🙂

  11. David Stewart April 19, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    great to see your work here again. In the story, I like the tragic fatalism of Cassandra, that knowledge doesn’t make any difference, and so, if she could do it all again, it would all go the same way. I’m fascinated by that theme: of seeing the impending destruction but being gripped by some sort of fatal lassitude, like deer in the headlines. Hopefully, we can wake up before it’s too late.

    • dmmacilroy April 19, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

      Hi David,

      It was nice of you to visit and comment on The Tears of Cassandra. Some of us are awake, but collectively, we’ve slept too long. I’m convinced that the primary motivation of the majority of humans is to get through the day, week, or month and eventually, their years and life without having to make sacrifices. The now is very important to us, but not to the extent that it requires not ‘keeping up with the Jones’. It is a fatal flaw, and one for which the only thing that can be said is the closing to your comment…Ciao.

      We are a funny species.

      Thanks for stopping by.



  12. singleworkingmomswm April 22, 2014 at 10:46 pm #

    This is wonderfully written, Doug. So happy to read your blog again. I find myself wanting to shake the world and run away from it at the same time-but I don’t….I don’t do either. I do what I can in my space to attentive to Mother Earth’s needs as well as to my family’s and to those living creatures around me. XOXO-Kasey

    • dmmacilroy April 23, 2014 at 12:16 am #

      Dear Kasey,

      Short of dropping everything and tilting at the largest and most obdurate windmill in the world, there seems to be little else that can be done. I am ever more sure that the answer lies in the unheralded actions of people like you and your family.

      Thank you for your kind compliments and for reading at all. I appreciate your time and presence. Keep shaking the world.



  13. MythRider April 23, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    Doug, I missed you too.
    Of course I can’t complain too loudly, I haven’t been around too much myself. That thing called Life sometimes gets in the way.
    Welcome back, hope all is well.

    About your blog:
    Sadly, some of us are slow to hear and understand.

    • dmmacilroy April 23, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

      Dear Phyllis,

      It’s complications like life that are the reason for most of the problems. Thank you very much for reading this small entry. Your encouragement is appreciated.



      • MythRider April 24, 2014 at 1:16 am #

        Most welcome. ;0)

  14. Joanna (Lazuli Portals Trilogy) April 25, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    I have missed you, Doug. I always come here when Ron and I play Fictioneers, just to see if you’ve joined us again.

    This is, as it has to be, a foreboding piece, a tolling bell – and one which you are eminently qualified to write. Oh, and quite stunningly written, as always, if I may comment with my writer/reader hat as well as my ecological bonnet.

    The world needs your words, Doug!

    • dmmacilroy April 25, 2014 at 8:27 am #

      Dear Joanna,

      Thank you for reading. If I could figure out the antidote for the ‘time suck’ quotient that commenting on all the stories in FF entails, I might be tempted to return with a tale or two.

      The Cassandra’s of this world (myself, and possibly you included) are fighting an uphill battle.

      I appreciate you stopping in to visit.



      • Joanna (Lazuli Portals Trilogy) April 25, 2014 at 8:36 am #

        Doug, I hear you on the time front. I rarely get to more than 25 stories, and we only “play” once a month. With things as they are, that has to be my limit. But know that you, and your writing, are missed. 🙂

        Aloha 🙂

  15. plaridel May 3, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    nature can only take so much abuse. it’s just a matter of time when it will exact its own revenge and make the necessary corrections to heal itself. .

  16. Caely May 5, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    Dear D,

    It’s been a while since I put footprints here, but here I am. This story made me shiver. Especially the archaeologist part, and all the fish. You know what the ocean means to me, we share the same love.
    Glad you jumped on this FF train. Still loving your stories.


    • dmmacilroy May 6, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

      Dear Caely,

      You and I are kindred. Thanks for looking on this one. It wasn’t an FF post, just a lament and a meditation on how people like you must feel as the oceans fill with so much trash we’ll soon be able to walk across them.

      I cannot tell you what it means to me to know that there is a person of your quality fighting the good fight.



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