Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Soft and the Loud

The Soft and the Loud 

The words of those who’re humble
are rarely harsh or sharp.
They often have the music
of a gently fingered harp.

And yet a voice that’s softer
can hide a vengeful heart.
So words are used as weapons
by those who've learned that art.

And those who speak out louder
may have a cause sincere
and bravely speak for others
whose throats are dry from fear.

There’s rarely gain from volume
where reasoned words would do.
We might prevail from shouting
but lose our bearings too.


A parent who’s beleaguered,
a teacher who is stressed—
might raise a voice in anger
yet leave things unaddressed.

And so it is with siblings—
with friends and lovers too.
And so it is with spouses 
and all like me and you.
We’re better when we’re softer,
but best when paying mind.
Let’s listen and let’s reason—
not forgetting to be kind.
There is a time for whispers.
There is a time for screams.
There is a time for talking,
for silence—and for dreams.
How often, words are uttered
that lack in grace and art—
the words of ire, derision—
that show a lapse of heart.
Let’s notice when we’re angered—
and count those breaths of ten
that should be slow and measured
to lead us back to zen.
Let’s notice when we’re fearful—
and breathe then, once again,
to find the strength and courage
to speak and act—and when.
There is a time for speaking.
There is a time for pause.
For thought and word and action,
there should be sight and cause.


We each have had our traumas—
and some of us were spoiled.
Too often, we are blinded—
and our whips are then uncoiled.
So scorpions use their stingers
and dogs might use their jaws.
But notice cats who’re playing
and how they sheathe their claws.
We're often steered by habits—
and each of these has use.
But if they are our masters
the outcome is abuse.
Each day is a beginning.
Each moment is a start.
It also is a dying—
that gives a chance to heart.

Let’s leave behind our losses.
Let’s leave our hurts behind.
We’re neither serfs nor bosses.
Let’s keep that truth in mind.
We see the anger rising.
We see the fear that spreads.
We breathe and watch them moving—
our rages, lusts and dreads.
We bow and meet the anger.
We smile and greet the fear.
We laugh with all our passions—
for each of these is dear.

There’s grief that’s deep within us.
There’s joy that bubbles still.
Let’s leave the world in leisure
and wreak no more of ill.
2016 mid-October (the first five stanzas) 
and 2017 August 30th, Wed. (the rest)
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

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