November 2, 2010
This is a poem that tells, means. Archibald Mac Leish wrote "A poem should not mean but be." But I wanted to tell about something on my mind which I myself have witnessed. It "bees," but "be"? I have settled some things in my mind while writing it, including questions of what, in poetry, I want to continue to do, to drop, to change, or to newly attempt.
Paul Valery wrote: "A poem is never finished, only abandoned." But I don't at this time intend to abandon it. It might reappear some time in the future looking a lot different except for the "good parts."
LAMENT FOR LOST SONGS
By Roberta Schulberg Goro
Suppressive schemes to clasp control continue persistent in
Separate groups outside of government.
Falsified fact, half-truths, misrepresented views of rivals
Cause loathing disregard of slandered, act as censor of those libeled.
Sub-rosa activists jolt retraction from opposing-conscienced resistants,
Who cower to silence by intimidating insistence.
Impeding speech, barring hearing,
Organized societal estrangements,
Wily monopolistic arrangements,
Unscrupulous games played cruelly
For personal gain and supremacy,
Decadence despite idealistic legality,
Cursèd shortcuts to unearned mastery.
~ And new times invent new tactics.
Law's procedures prevent hindrance to retort.
Government is the surest resort.
But law redresses outrage after the outraged sue.
Assuming that discovery's timely,
Will maligned have resources to carry through?
Have shunned the social connections needed for rebuttle of
Misrepresentations, guileful, subtle?
~Not everything is government control~
Or should new times invent new tactics?
Ought authority forestall distortion, hate-creating practics
By placing prying guards in ubiquitous patrol?
Should it create a fearing silence as avoids controversial mention
And with such fears nullify its own free speech protection?
If what we forfend becomes our favor we ourselves transmute to other
And give accord to overmastering subjection.
Your anxiety is feckless.
Schemers, rare, not likely to be reckless.
Fear of disclosure is tort restrained!
Avoiding disgrace, serenity's maintained!
Fear-- But their world begins in fear - is fear.
And it's fear that makes them tyrant
Should their brittle cosmos of preconceptions be disturbed and
They press back if,
In abrupt encounter with the bustling gyrant,
By miscalculated strategy,
Shifts of time,
Or turns in the road,
They are startled to meet exuberance of
Rhythmic stomps of varied step,
Recounters of tales,
Weavers of intricate bands of color,
Clamorers of what they know
And in the telling, telling clear
A dissonant contrapuntal melody
Of doctrines diverse and actions contradictory.
Uneasy in consideration of the anarchic array of differences,
They edge through the narrow containing furrows,
Around assemblies of colorful bustling boroughs,
Disdaining the pageant on display, perturbed at guileless candid references.
But they do not go away.
They skitter in a safety which is clandestine to
Observe in anonym the drubbings, meetings, trades and orations,
Scurrying close to the rim of the dividing ruts of corrugations,
The partitioning clefts between the congregations,
Hating whatever is not somber,
Searching for reasons to censure.
Or quivering at their own daredevil malevolence,
Dart into folds pretending adherence
To defame outside ethos or stance.
Eyeing folds of endeavor, enthusiasm or exertion,
Unless with short inward breath,
Shocked at ecstatic song's or fevered story's protrusion from its origin,
It's unaccustomed sort of light past boundaries of it's own division
Of broad cosmology or utilitarian pragmatism.
They goad each other gnashing at the whooping young they come upon
Whose sharp elbows and supple-ankled feet protrude from jumbles of ruckus and jump-rope song,
And silence with brief barbed words the cackles of the scathing, droll, multiplexic old found sauntering on byroads the winnowers tread along
Abashing constructs articulated beyond the firm division each belongs to,
Outraged umbrage brushing those wayside or crossing over
Into convenient folds which confirm one-or-another preconception of the hour,
Self-appointed sanctimony putting "in their place" everyone who they run into.
Your simplistic, over-heated flouting of authority merely
Describes those acting paternally
To block disruption of that clement conformity which
Secures every disparate disciplined boundary.
Conflict in ethos' can cause panic
Confusion confronting the anarchic.
I doubt false reports goad to reject.
It's that the majority,
Naive and uncircumspect,
Give to none but familiar concepts respect.
It's not the government's authority but private impulse to weaken that seeks cordoned narrowing to witless.
A paternal authority who extends broad witness
Diminishes enfeebling ignorance,
It's not the majority, but the tyrants of conformity
Who anger at conceptual disturbance.
Tyrants hate the free play
Of minds they can't manipulate,
Prefer lives forged through fright, docile to obey,
Though irrelevant to law's decree, anyone's demand
Adults, their spirits folded neat like laundry on a sidestand.
Obedience itself is the new tyrants' veneration,
Regardless of particular tradition,
Funneling mavericks into convenient railed-off pens of custom
Roughly fitting a salient trait marked as temperament's token
Or as a partial ethnic configuration of the formerly unbranded, now to be newly broken.
Throughout a childhood longer than other earthly creatures,
Human's with difficulty imbibe ready concepts of society and nature.
But tyrants limit compass of that unfathomed world in which we all are insecure,
Stifling mental receptivity among those no longer immature.
Although alike physically,
We are immensely different ethnically,
Never hardened to a species specific way.
Time's cogencies leads us aware through transformation,
Yielding insight beyond our custom's earlier conformation.
And concealments will not prevent alterations.
And distortions will warp contemporary custom's re-configurations.
Now ~ since acrobatic reckonings disport unceasingly within the mind,
Eager hearsay's glossing gossips of a barriered actuality
Arouse unnerving chimeras of vivid irreality,
Narrowed insular intellect accepting as tuition
Unwitnessable tales of personage or tradition.
And folds which, among their own kind,
Repress the transparent, incandescent eidolons
That skim in tandem with our alert quotidian minds,
Which delimit the intricate formation of conjectures wrought
By meticulously measured, abstract, formalizing thought,
Shrivel among their own the innate, mentally agile, specifically human delight of such venture,
Molding out of a plenary human being a sullen, anguished, lower creature,
Subjugating such limited beings of the fold to the fold's limiting intimidator.
Again you're caught up in glorious old history
This time the battle against slavery.
Adults in unsatisfactory happenstance
Have the right to leave and take their chance
On finding some unknown, some superior circumstance.
But this is not about lapse in enforcing the constitution.
It's about unregenerate private passion
The will to dominate and control without argument or limitation,
A competitive sport, played only for the winning.
A match of rise, gloat, and score.
It's a psychology lesson.
Now, inside the martinets maneuver distrust of outside innocence,
Their shakey allegations swaying swelling ranks of ignorance.
~ Or they pose a strategy of detachment,
Marshalling unguided trust in viciousness
With a dangerous tokenism of permissiveness as examplar of restrained tolerance,
Withholding information to that same walled-around ignorance.
To be in their good graces requires ready assent to implication
That giving ear outside the group exhibits traitorous collaboration.
Nods are flashed toward scholar or casual reader as addenda to insinuation.
Then shunned are those of questionable convictions,
Avoided now are unfavored commitments.
Done casually, coolly, in unofficial manner, unsubjected to court's rigor and without interrogator, they proceed without ruth.
Can a persuasive minority obscure truth?
Will a groveling majority evade integrity's truth?
In groupings of enthusiasms like art, history or philosophy,
Contrivers, stalwart in beneficence to their protégés,
Diminish difficulties of age-old thorny complexities
By devoted doctoring of ancient works according to current sophistries.
They simplify, re-interpret, conceal, enhance and restructure,
Recasting work, artist, and antecedent culture,
Peremptorily filling (as they see it) the needs of present circumstance.
Disaffected members of the group, noting the general lack of substance
(Hardly enough for the little grip of infants),
Lose interest, or feign enrapture in obeisance.
And then again, associates of small but effective power in key positions,
For example, small township librarians,
Principals of religions,
Others not under Library of Congress restrictions,
Can eradicate or disarrange new and ancient compositions,
Zealous villagers spread irate "stamp out" proscriptions
From town to town like a virulent disease link,
Insiders self-segregating from what more distant towns think.
We are a wonder to ourselves.
Grasp of our unique sapience
Rounds through astonished cognizance
Of our own culture's countenance
In contrast with epoch or locale gaped at from a distance.
Insight ignites when our imagination
Envisions long past or distant invention
In intertwined apposition with paradigms of our own,
Initial reflective formulations warning or inspiring of a potentiality
Portending turpitude or a transcendent turn in history.
A weighty portion of self-knowledge is lost with loss of any ethnology.
But self-segregaters stop, shun, and slander singers of another song.
Contradiction holds to silence keeping place among the throng.
Peripheral opinion lowers eyelids, shrugs, backs off from surrounding audit,
Repeats "They said it's not good," represses further thought.
Inside only silence, fearing and insensate.
Outside, only cynosures for hate.
Underpinnings between the folds disintegrate.
The overall purpose? Gamesmanship in the sport of DIVIDE AND CONQUER.
Assisted by those reared to acquiesce, manipulators have set the gaggle into positions of controllable order.
And the strong minded are, in the silence, made ready for insurgent uncontrollable disaster.
It happened many times in history,
Lovers of homogeneity,
Condescenders and iconclasts
Destroy a civilization and its recorded past.
And just how do you expect to legislate
Against a frenzy which initiates
In sectors that are private?
I don't. We already have the legislation.
What's needed is extension of societal education
Raising everyone to a condition of sophistication.
In adversarial record don't destroy even comma or apostrophe,
Yet, in your own name, stand forth to disagree.
Group or person, be known by honest friends of forthright discipline
So if ever you suffer need for defense, you among the just will win.
I've been listening and I prefer whatever is the safer decision
Those not choosing sides in refutation,
Or clamoring in disputation,
Not interposing, countering, making or taking the trouble,
Won't find themselves calling and clambering in some aftermath of rubble.
That speaker sounds to me like one of experience.
No hazards for minding one's own business.
Ride your bike, sow your garden,
Not get lost in altercating diz zi n ~