Tag Archives: chirocracy


Today, another poem, a triolet. The word that inspires it, chirocracy, is from Greek χείρ kheir (cheir) ‘hand’ and κρατία kratia ‘power rule’; the chir is the same as in chiropractor, with a “hard” ch and an i like “eye,” but the stress is on the o as in democracy. It literally means ‘rule by hand’, but it doesn’t mean just any hand; it means strong-handed rule, rule by force. The sole citation in the Oxford English Dictionary is from a 1677 History of the Government of Venice, and it uses an older style of spelling: “It might rather have been called Chirocratie, all things being managed by Violence and Tumult.”

The strong hand breaks all that resists.
Force, might, and will soon overcome.

Your sticks and eggs and bricks and fists
the strong hand breaks. All that resists
is one smooth stone, which still persists
serenely as the grip grows numb.

The strong hand breaks. All that resists
force might—and will soon—overcome.