A Claw By Any Other Name

Drag a gasping fish onto dry land,
but don’t delude yourself,
that it can learn to prefer air
when it needs water to breathe.

Do you feel satisfied scrutinizing
with puritan eyes each claw and fang,
dismissing those which fail
to meet your standards of sharpness

instead of using the time
to value the strength of each
and understand how they are made
for a purpose beyond your view?

You must enjoy standing alone then.

I will respect claw and fin, talon and tendon
of those who howl in common cause
to ensure the world we all love
will have no shortage of protectors.


This poem is linked to the Tuesday Platform over at Imaginary Gardens for Real Toads

Process Note: This poem was inspired by a conversation I was involved in, where a person claimed that unless someone protested in such a manner that risked death or imprisonment, then they may as well join the other side. Aside from being such a laughably black and white view of the world (and regular readers know how much I love that), it angered me. Would the speaker say the same thing to someone in a wheelchair who has concerns about their world? How about saying that to a single mother in sole support of her children? Are they going to step up and care for those children when their mother can't? Unless you know someone's story, don't judge their ability to be part of a cause.

Do the best you can, with whatever limits you have. I'm not going to judge you for "doing it wrong" but thank you for whatever you can contribute.

41 comments:

  1. You're so right, everything seems so binary...whereas reality is somewhere in the middle as is truth.

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    1. I think we will not move forward until we can move past binary thinking. And I'll do my part to get people to see there are plenty of ways to see things.

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  2. This could almost be a prayer:
    'I will respect claw and fin, talon and tendon
    of those who howl in common cause
    to ensure the world we all love
    will have no shortage of protectors.'

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    1. I hadn't thought of it that way, but yes, it does. I'm rather pleased about that.

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  3. Hmmm, I would ask that person "Why then are you walking around free, instead of being imprisoned or dead? Are you not protesting enough?" Put up or shut up, big talker.

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    1. Bwa-hahahahahahhahahhahahhahahaha! OMG Debra, I love you!

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  4. This is a beautiful poem on a topic that is near and dear to my heart.

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  5. I'm nodding so hard my head might fall off. Your first stanza is pure wisdom--some people (more than others, it seems) need to realize that the world is not so easily defined... or divided. We can't forget that in being all we can be, we have no right of demanding of others to be just like us.

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  6. What I really have difficulties with is the world of black and white that seems to be coming back... I remember it from growing up (and when young you are so much more a black and white person) but now I find it simply stupid to draw dividing lines... To me it's the same as waging war.

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    1. Right, and it's complete madness to wage war on those that might well be allies.

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  7. I think anytime you step out of your comfort zone to protect something is valid. No one should judge what level your response should be. I loved the indignation in this, but more so the tone of your last stanza. As I re-read it, I heard the prayer, but I heard a defiant tone of of defense, as well. What passion you put into this!

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    1. LOL, the idea to put this into a poem was very spur of the moment. If I hadn't been encouraged to mouth off in my document, it might never have been written.

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  8. There's always some strident fuckwit talking out of their ass and calling it oratory, isn't there?

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    1. It's a shame that too often what passes for discourse is just diarrhea.

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  9. I love this poem, Rommy. From the image in the opening stanza to the final resounding lines, this makes a huge impact.

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    1. I'm glad that it does. If it even reaches just one person who needed encouragement for their private resistance, then I'm glad I wrote it.

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  10. I love the message in this poem and the wisdom in your process notes. Thanks for the shout out about single moms, too.

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    1. I know quite a few of those, several of them who are doing the best they can while juggling issues of survival. I couldn't not say something.

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  11. We can judge or we can learn. You have opened our thoughts to a powerful message

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    1. And you put it beautifully and succinctly! I choose to learn.

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  12. Good thoughts expressed in telling metaphor. (And thank you on behalf of those who serve as well as they're able. I no longer go on protest marches because of some ailments which make it hard to walk or even stand for very long at a time. I sign petitions and write to politicians instead.)

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    1. Don't downplay phone calls! Yesterday we had a victory in the US when enough people called their representatives to voice their opposition to a plan that would gut the ethics committee. Every little bit helps!

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  13. Those of us who care (and I believe that's the majority) are doing the best that we can to help make this world a better place. Thanks for the passionate boost - your words help.

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    1. If one person gets something out of it, I'm happy I wrote it.

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  14. My new favorite from you. Brilliant!

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  15. Well penned, er...or typed. But you're exactly right about the all or nothing attitude. The worst part is that kind of thinking can also be an excuse to do nothing.

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    1. Yes, absolutely! That sort of thinking can be quite demoralizing. Right now, we need to be encouraging each other, not discouraging.

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  16. 100 % agree with the message in and after your poem -- we live in a world of varied colors, shapes, sizes - experiences. We must respect each one & only love can heal & protect us. Thank you for sharing.

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  17. Yes!!! Brilliant!! Love this Rommy!!!!! Big Hugs!

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  18. I absolutely loved this before your process notes. Now I love it even more!

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  19. Replies
    1. I certainly shall try to!

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    2. Hahahaha, you know I love your wit! I shared a link to this poem on my Facebook page.

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