Category Archives: poems about opression

We Seem Meant to Argue

We Seem Meant to Argue

We seem meant to argue, to disagree and fuss––
to call each other s.o.b.’s, to blather on and cuss.
Somehow the world needs movement––the hurricanes and tides.
In every situation, there must be clans or sides.
There is a natural movement toward the pack or cult or gang.
Each game needs an opponent, and every yin a yang.

It may be named a congregation, a party or a cause,
but still there will be discord. There always is, because
there is something within us that draws us towards division.
Every peace march draws its crowd screaming in derision.
Some force within the universe that knows the whole of it
has decreed that everything has its opposite.

So though we may crave unity and hope one day to coin
accord between the nations, and for hearts and minds to join,
the truth is that the universe is like a pendulum.
For every radical event, the opposite will come.
if we just wait long enough, it will be peace’s turn,
but in the meantime hate will pillage, conquer, rape and burn
We would have it otherwise, but hope won’t make it so.
We may unite in nations, but we’ll still go toe to toe:
nation versus nation, like street gangs in a rumble.
The most sincere peace accord eventually will crumble.
Mere wishing will not bring on peace, but we can make a start
simply by appealing to that attitude of heart

that chooses to forget and start that upward swing
that can pull the whole world with it as it takes to wing.
The answer to the hatred is to start out one-by-one
to try to make the choices to set discord on the run.
To choose the dark sides of ourself is an act of treason.
We must conquer our own petty hates and choose to live by reason.

Today’s prompt is “Argument.”


The prompt today was “nerve.” Here is where that one word led my mind.
Version 3


I admire those who have the courage and the verve
to choose a filmy cut-out dress that shows off every curve,
for I admit I have neither the figure nor the nerve!

  There is no scale for bravery, no ruler and no gauge
for those who memorize their lines and stand up on the stage
reciting without benefit of the printed page.

Some men face off lions in the lion’s den,
and women face off dangers from the selfsame men,
while I sit home and face the dangers of the brush and pen.

Some may find their courage in the finest wine––
others at the bottom of a tankard or a stein,
but my imagination is where I go for mine.

Conviction is so easy when it’s written on a page
unhindered by imprisonment in cell, compound or cage
or the threat of facing zealotry’s cruel rage.

Some of us are lucky in the details of our birth:
our health, our parents  and our looks–our beauty and our girth,
but most of all the place that we are given on this earth.

There are others not so lucky, born to famine and to drought
or to repressive governments where those who have the clout
give no room for self-expression or enquiry or doubt.

This is where it takes pure nerve to stand up to the strong
who’ve exercised the cruelty of power for so long
to say at threat of life and limb what you feel is wrong.

I say these things in safety from a place that is secure.
I need not rage in silence.  I need not be demure
or face punishment for thoughts that others deem impure.

I’m lucky in the problems that I face from day to day,
for nothing that I want to drink or wear or do or say
is labeled with a “thou shalt not” or listed as a “Nay.”

I admire those who have the courage and the verve
to speak truth as they see it and face the cruel blade’s curve,
for I admit I have neither the valor nor the nerve!

Version 2

(For Raif Badawi– sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashings for writing his beliefs on his blog and Ali Mohamed al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon, and Abdullah al-Zaherall minors sentenced  to death by beheading simply for attending demonstrations.  Incredible to realize I would be put to death for what I am saying right now if I lived in Saudi Arabia or Egypt.)