As a tribute to all our angels with two feet on the ground…
“When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state… In pursuing his perceptions of reality, he must often sail against the currents of his time. This is not a popular role…”
Synonyms for Faith
by Meredith Davies Hadaway
All day a lone goose stands on the floating
dock. He nibbles at the water—stretches,
preens—but does not fly. No sign
of the flock that was there the day
before. I worry he’s injured or maybe
lost his mate. The tide comes in, raising
the wooden slats that hold him, then
retreats. Ducks crowd by and leave again.
The sun moves down the river, tossing
amber light across the lower layer of clouds.
Still there, now a silhouette against the glowing
sky. There is no lonelier sound than the cry
of just-one-goose—unless you hear another
from further down the river. I can’t be sure.
I only know the goose is gone now.
That when I look again, I see a pair
of shadows wing their way along
the river’s silver surface.
Well, You Needn’t
by Robert Earl Price
You needn’t console me, needn’t apologize
Each of us is responsible. We have enabled this.
Do you remember that time?
That minute when you looked the other away
A blind witness
Do you remember how quiet it was that time?
When you pretended not to hear
As if artificial silence would make you
A deaf witness
Do you remember that moment?
The second that caught you standing silent
In the presence of lies
A mute witness
Collaborators all without a degree of separation
You needn’t explain
No one saw the sky turn into granite
No one heard the warning of the wind
No one said the river is now poison
You needn’t tell us to hunker down
We already squat on our haunches
Waiting for a change of plans
To map our path forward
The way of things has a rule
That insists no rule lasts forever
The fact checkers know
That weeping willows are not submissive
Those who listen know
That lost songbirds are irreplaceable
We have witnessed foreshadowing
That proves that chaos is inevitable
You needn’t deny it
We have all sensed it
That nagging certainty
Something akin to a warning
A dim logic that sows the obvious
Over barren and fallow noggins
You needn’t explain
We know there is no gilded gate
Eventually we will all windup
Confined to quarters
As priests in white masks compute our odds
We lock the doors to our cells
Complicit in our selfish silence
They say a check is in the mail
And forecast a fair election
They want us to roll the dice again
Well you needn’t
*Thelonious Monk playing “Well, You Needn’t,”