My friend Jindu and I are going to write a poem a day for a month. I kind of petered out on the November prompt-a-day process, partly because I didn’t hook up with anyone else to keep me accountable, I think.
I am seeking my poetic edge right now. I think I have settled into a dreamy voice that feels truthful and real to me, but I also want to push myself to dance it more toward the edges, to use the knife of poetry to cut through the lies which have overtaken out communal political life. I want to do, as Toni Morrison suggests: “This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”
I listened to the This Jungian Life podcast episode on QAnon yesterday. The analysts spoke of the mad shaman archetype, cult leaders like the Rajneesh or Jim Jones, and political cultists like Donald Trump. These mad shamans tap into and seem to control the prevailing group subconscious, so I put the political ones in my poem.
In shifting my voice a little, I lose the sense of what is incisive and rich versus what is schlocky and overdrawn. I think I really like this one, but I’m not sure whether it works or not. I am really good at taking constructive criticism, so if you have suggestions for making it better, or if you think it simply doesn’t work, I would value your thoughts.
(W)Rite of Revolution
by Beth Weaver-Kreider
It’s an insane season on the world stage
when the mad shamans have throttled reason,
caged the people’s psyche
to manipulate the narrative, to stir up
snakes’ nests of impotent and undirected rage
that has no urge for revolution.
When old men commit their treasons in broad daylight
with a populace too cowed to call it out,
and the well of civic sense is poisoned
and dissent is disallowed, then
we are ripe for revolution.
Can we write a revolution,
shake up a sleeping people
with glowing word-bombs and poetic lines of fire?
Can we rhyme our way to wakefulness?
Express defiance in the rhythms we lay down?
The ancient prophets called down fire from heaven
with poetic furor, and each stage of history
has its poets in the streets, calling out for justice,
eyes ablaze and wild hair whipped by Armageddon breeze.
The bodies of the tyrants’ victims line the empires’ alleys,
and naked truth has been outshone by sexy lies.
When all they know is violence, can we stand
within the golden pillars of our words, unweave
the strands of their intimidations with our poetry,
ignore the pomp and vain bravado of the ones
who make their final stand in halls of power,
reveal instead a vision of a just and equal future,
turn our backs on old men’s lies? Set Truth,
in all her naked glory, back in the center of our discourse?
Set the poets and the prophets loose in all the streets,
from Washington to Lagos, to Moscow, to Beijing.
From Caracas to Jerusalem, to London, to Riyadh.
Free the words on crumpled pages, creaking laptops,
throats constricted from the tyrants’ iron claws.
Create new incantations to freedom and democracy.
Unravel the curses of the mad shamans, unweave
their version of a twisted history.
Write a new page.
Stage the revolution
in the realm of dream and vision.
“We live in a world of theophanies. Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary. There are burning bushes all around you. Every tree is full of angels. Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb. Life wants to lead you from crumbs to angels, but this can only happen if you are willing to unwrap the ordinary by staying with it long enough to harvest its treasure.”
“It was one of those days you sometimes get latish in the autumn when the sun beams, the birds toot, and there is a bracing tang in the air that sends the blood beetling briskly through the veins.” —P.G. Wodehouse
“You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope, coffee, and poetry.” —Frida Kahlo
“I touch God in my song
as the hill touches the far-away sea
with its waterfall.
The butterfly counts not months but moments,
and has time enough.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estes:
“We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
“One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds beacons, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of of soul in shadowy times like these—to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.”
“Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they will become.” —Brooke Hampton
“Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things.
Every single creature is full of God and is a book about God.
Every creature is a word of God.
If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature—even a caterpillar—
I would never have to prepare a sermon.
So full of God is every creature.”
It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.
It could you know. That’s why we wake
and look out–no guarantees
in this life.
But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” ―J.R.R. Tolkien