| Commentary and Philosophy Poetry
posted January 18, 2022
A blank verse contest entry.
Together We Must Stand
I ask the heav’nly Muse, be kind and help
this seeking soul untangle truth from lies,
to let the light of reason shine upon
this perilous path we wander darkly down,
and give these merely human words the strength
to guide us all toward freedom’s renaissance.
I’ll sing my song into this faithless wind
that coldly gathers these forbidding clouds
we walk beneath and hope my tune will reach
the icy ears of those who led us down
this road that leads us farther still away
from our sweet land, my country ‘tis of thee.
Can anyone deny what’s plainly placed
before their eyes, can simply state the sun
will not appear despite the dawning day?
A blind man won’t deny the sunlight’s warmth
upon his face when he awakens from
his nightly sleep. And though he spends his days
in dark of night, he keenly knows what’s real:
he sees without his eyes the light of truth.
But there are those with eyes that clearly see,
who seem to want to choose to live within
a night created by the blackest fog
of lies, who shun the light of truth as if
it was not there at all, who live their lives
proclaiming facts are fake, denying things
that even blind men understand are true.
It’s to these sightless souls I sing this song
and hope they hear to heed the Muse’s call.
Since we together journey down this road,
restless and dazed and truly tired both
in body and in mind and, being bound
to travel side-by-side, let’s pause and rest
a moment under spacious skies, drink in
our nation’s beauty, seek to soothe our souls.
The splendor of the land that stretches out
before us like a calming quilt, belies
the unseen rips in freedom’s fabric, hides
the blood-stained shrouds left buried just beneath
forgetful feet. So often, we ignore
the fact that, as we walk, we walk upon
the dead: those who have paved the way for us
to journey on. They would not rue their choice
to serve if they could somehow be assured
we’ll stay the course, continue towards the light
of freedom, never veering off the path.
To honor those who’ve come before, we need
to steer a truer course, agree that what
appears to lie ahead along the path
we wander dumbly down are darker days,
and find a healing way into the light.
Freedom’s fire is fueled by truth and dimmed
by deadly lies. The night that closes in
is like that shrouding mist that slowly rose
to hide the evil Tempter when we first
awoke within that perfect Garden. Blessed
to gladly tend with loving hands the blooms
and beasts that freely flourished there, we chose
to disobey, were cursed through our own will,
and fell into our current state. A lie
had cast us out of Paradise and now
a lie has led us deeper into night.
But this time we can learn from former sins,
trust what is real and close our ears and mind
to words that come from any hissing snake,
language of Man pronounced by tongue of brute, (1)
who tries to tempt us with the sinful taste
of promises that only serve to sate
the fragile feelings found inside the dreams
of one who never wakes, who understands
nothing of tradition, honor, and grace,
a narcissistic charlatan, a clown
of chaos, doing just what’s best for him.
Now raise your head and see beyond the lies!
Describe the landscape living only in
your mind: a verdant field filled with flowers,
all flush with rebirth and wonder? The fog
has made you blind to graves too early dug.
The dawn has come; even a blind man sees
what you deny. I do not claim to know
what would or could have been had truthful words
been spoken from the start; I only know
that what we needed most to hear was truth
not excuse nor deceptive claims of cures.
Now, look around you once again. Allow
the light of reason to illuminate
the bleached and ashen bones that you deny.
“What can we reason but from what we know?”
A Pope of reason essayed once of Man. (2)
The dead are what we know. We reason based
on what we see, or rather, more on who
we sadly seek to see again: all those
we loved and lost to danger you denied
because unreasoned talk was told, believed
by those of you who fell into the trap
of wishful dreams, reality ignored.
We reason but from what we know, from what
we plainly see before our weeping eyes.
What reason now can you divine, what fact
is clear inside your mind that makes you see
a landscape hidden in the dark of lies?
We should not speak of things that are not there,
of what we do not know; of sleepy dreams
dissolving with reality’s light. Awake!
There is a fragrant scent that floats upon
the gentle breeze and permeates the air
as we enjoy this respite on our trek.
Its source is at our journey’s end: a flame
of liberty and freedom burning bright
above this country crowned with brotherhood,
by all that’s right, and blessed by heaven’s grace.
Can we at least agree our goal’s the same,
that Pilgrim’s pride still swells within our hearts,
and that alluring fragrance fills us both
with hope of brighter better days to come?
But now there is a ling’ring subtle scent
that mingles with the smoke from freedom’s flame,
an acrid smell assaulting what is right.
And if we look toward Freedom’s House, we see
the source, ascending like that early mist
that veiled the evil Tempter from Heav’ns eye.
The clown still hides within that putrid fog,
the very one who promised to be there
to fight like Hell with mindless minions he
unleashed, but chose instead to take his ease
and watch his wretched plan unfold, safely
secured, and dining while refusing calls
to calm the raging mob left blinded by
baseless claims of triumphant victory.
We’ve fallen once again, forgotten what
had once resulted in our gain of death,
forgotten what has brought us here so far
away from where we’re meant to be. Perhaps
the Garden that we lost cannot be found
within this barren land we cross, cannot
be raised again upon this wayward world,
for so far east of Eden we have strayed.
The time to rest has ended. We must stand
and start anew as we continue on
together toward the brighter light of truth.
We must resist the tempting fruit that hangs
within our reach, recalling lessons learned,
and strive with steady stride to stay our course,
eschew the lies that steer us from our goal,
that turn us ‘gainst ourselves, for we are not
one nation under God if we are ruled
by hatred and deceit. If we allow
the lies to take control then we are doomed
to live again in these wild woods forlorn. (3)
We’re not so different, you and I: our days
are reckoned by a greater force that is
beyond our place to know; our children dream
and dance and sing, alive outside of time;
we strive to do what’s right, provide the things
our family needs to live and grow, and give,
as best we can, our help to those who are
not blessed with means to help themselves survive.
Our luck and fortune spring from where we live,
this nation under God, where liberty
and rights are granted equally to all.
That ideal of liberty and justice
is why we must continue on, for we
have yet to reach that perfect union we
set out to form on this prolonged journey.
A poet, green as grass, a living flame
of what can be, what should have always been,
has sung to us the hill that we must climb. (4)
Ascend with me, take my hand, and we’ll help
each other reach the crest. At times our strength
may wane and waver ‘twixt the two of us,
sometimes I may not have sufficient strength
to carry on alone, while other times
it’s you who sadly struggle ‘gainst the climb.
The stronger (tempted) must not turn away,
for only with each other’s help can we
have hope enough to reach our righteous goal.
An eagle softly soars above our heads
magnificent and free, with outstretched wings
against a dappled sky. My heart is there,
I tell you true, and this I know as well:
you feel the same when such a sight you see.
We are the wings that drive that graceful bird
toward truth and freedom; maybe you are right
and I am left but we together form
a necessary balance, leading us
as one into the dawn of brighter days.
All, together, form a perfect union;
Together we must stand and start anew.
Blank Verse writing prompt entry
Create a blank verse poem using the traditional iambic pentameter.
No pictures. No special fonts. Just a poem.
see an example here
The full title of this poem is "Together We Must Stand and Start Anew."
and 2 member cents.
1. Milton, John. Paradise Lost, H. M. Caldwell, Publishers, 1902, 287.
2. Pope, Alexander. "Essay on Man." Norton Anthology of English Literature, Seventh Edition, Vol. 1, edited by M. H. Abrams, W. W. Norton, 2000, 2555.
3. Milton, 299.
4. Gorman, Amanda. "The Hill We Climb." Call Us What We Carry, Viking, 2021, 206.
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