Poem - What's A Poet To Do?

What do you want from me?
Words spoken oh so meekly?
Shall I acquiesce
To war and religiousness?
What is art and freedom?
If the poet cannot reason
And reach out to the human heart
Where hate and love do part
I beg of you
Do not look to me for approval
Of war
Or my mind's removal
For if I must
I will stand
Alone
And declare it time
To atone
For mankind's failure to plant the seed
To bear the fruit that we all need
To live
To give
To love
To know
To grow
And though there is no sanctimony
To power this symphony

There is the plea for the olive leaf
And I will extend my hand with grief
For words that may hurt
Even as I refuse to skirt
The pain a blessed nation has caused
Because nobody paused
To say, "We can do better"
For instead
We only have this vacuous letter....

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Comments 11 comments

Dowrite112 profile image

Dowrite112 6 years ago from Brooklyn NY

great piece


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Thank you Dowrite,

This piece was in response to some criticism I received on another hub...


maven101 profile image

maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona

A poet does not need to ask the question " What do you want of me ? "...poets do not need to explain their poems, defend their poems, or change their poems for cultural convenience or social demand...You just write the damn thing and let the chips fall where they may...

I may totally disagree with your pacifist appeals and sophomoric conclusions, but I can still appreciate the flow, rhythm, and interconnectivity of the poem without accepting the premise...

Reading Walter Benton's poems of love have been a lifelong pleasure, but reading his poems of unrequited love, of how his wife was " marketing her love ", I want to kick his ass and tell him to get over it, man up, she doesn't deserve all that gnashing of teeth, the self-recrimination, but see her for what she became: a war whore...I despised his wimpy submissiveness, yet was stunned by his depth of feelings...that is the dichotomy of poetry...

Remember, whatever you submit to the reader, you must also submit to that readers criticism, good, bad, or indifferent...

Write on, my friend, with boldness, compassion, and confidence...Larry


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

You're right... I don't have to explain myself but I didn't want to pretend you weren't out there Maven. I can hide beind the mystery of the words and say to myself "he doesn't get it." I could have said you are brainwashed and have allowed yourself to be moved into a world where hostilities are necessary; that you are a Machiavellian who is too matter of fact about life. I could have said that because I thought that. But instead I did not deny your post and I responded.

You may consider me sophmoric but the poem was not intended to discuss the details of whether Bush I should have finished off Hussein years ago or whether the Kurds should have been saved while we ignore other atrocities in Africa. Or why it was that the WMD which never materialized were more threatening in Iraq than the ones in North Korea. No it was not intended to discuss all that. It was intended to show how an idealistic view with an eternal message of right and wrong (in other words in total defiance of moral relativism) can still clang the bell loudly inside of men's minds and hearts. You stepped up and told me to piss off but then you showed me you are not an obsessive nutcase by shaking my hand afterward and for that I respect you greatly.

As for the poet you mentioned I too prefer the John Wayne hero type over the weepy male but a woman can do this to a man and this poet may have been your type of guy in other parts of his life but not with her. But as you say you were able to separate your objection to what you admired and that is rare in people and you have an emotional maturity that allows you to think in this way.

Yes I am an idealist. I am also a communicator and I don't mind explaining myself. Maybe I should cultivate a mystery but I have always been an open book and because of that my friends know who they are dealing with; I bring them closer than they have ever been before.

Thank you my friend...


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 6 years ago

Yes, you are a Poet and a communicator...if you have to tread carefully, then I'd say pack it in. You write from your own point of you and from your heart. We as poets and writers, take chances, walk a different line...Continue to follow your own path.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Thank you b.

I think a poet is a bit of a raw nerve ending that instantly feels the emotional impact of life and as such it is difficult not to flinch a bit when criticized. I am also not immune to some pride over what I have written so when someone who I consider to be an intelligent thinker questions me I tend to pause before I move on.

I appreciate your encouragement and I will continue to write what I feel because that's what I do. I have my path as you have yours and as Maven has his. I'm comfortable with my views but intransigence is not a characteristic of an open mind so I must leave the door open for dissent.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Thank you saleheen... I appreciate the complement.


scriber1 6 years ago

A poet, or any kind of communicator for that matter, never needs to know or seek what others want of him; a true Renaissance man will only need to know and seek what he wants of himself.........and you are admirably and courageously walking that path.......


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 6 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

You're right scribert... I guess I'm just trying to keep the peace...


BenWritings profile image

BenWritings 5 years ago from Save me from, Tennessee

Mark, you are genuinely impressive in your work.

This one stands out greatly to me.

The style you wrote it, and the way the words fell into place was really amazing.

bringing up legitimate points, and making a stand for yourself and your creative mind.

I really respect you for this. Great work!


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 5 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Ben,

Thank you for your support. I don't know if you read the comments but this poem was provoked by the responses I received on this hub:

http://hubpages.com/literature/Poem-Christian-Stat...

Maven in particular objected and he and I have made our peace as you can see above.

You see as a "poet" I want to be unreasonable in my expectations for mankind. I want to be idealistic. I do not want to be swept into history by those who destroy our ideals for personal gain. And here I am still and at times what I say may offend but I am also a human being who can be hurt be criticism. I am not intractable or unapproachable....

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