by Jay O'Toole
"Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to tell the reader the meaning or to show it by acting."
Sometimes the subject of poems are made, sometimes they're found,
but really what we need to do
is find expression 'fore we're through.
We're often hard-pressed between telling and showing our complex meanings.
For instance, the subject of the Seven Deadly Sins can be explained or expressed as quotes.
Now when I speak of pride, My Friend, in words so truly brash,
I may receive a grade that's meant my static piece to trash.
Yet, when that same individual realizes my intent,
he or she may see their own judgment was misplaced.
While we are on the subject, the Seven Deadly Sins are
lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.
How can we see the path of sin within our mortal lives?
Mayhaps we need some help to win that goodness fully thrives!
We could call lust the selfish desire for sexual satisfaction without regard to the needs of others.
Gluttony would surely fall in line as the selfish desire for the tongue's need of satisfaction
without regard to the consequences to the body.
That greed means money fills my need to have and never lack
I'm tempted by the slothful need to rest upon my back.
Yet, wrath, envy and pride are all close cousins,
since pride is all about me,
envy is about you having more than I have
wrath means I don't like what you did to me, therefore retaliation seems my best option.
It would appear that I can narrate the concepts quite well, but can I illustrate them, too?
Let's see. That would require a bit of acting. Would it not?
As a community actor I should be able to work my pride with very little effort.
Let's find out!
"How would you like to come over to my place for some fine and unmentionable pleasures?
"Then afterwards we'll feast upon some choco-chip cookie dough,
"And make some funds by posting pics, smeared faces all aglow.
"You know we'll sleep for hours without a thought for any sort of propriety
because we'll be in a sugar coma.
"What happens, when our loved ones find out what we've done,...
if we can't keep it hidden?
"They'll beat us near the living edge without one mercy-thought,
"All while they'll wish they'd done it, too, just wanting to be taught.
"Because I'm great! Everybody knows it's true!
Everybody wants to be me, but they can't because I'm the best!"
That gets a little over-the-top, doesn't it?
And pretty quick at that!
Talk about Seven Deadly Sins!
It's hard to talk about them without feeling dirty.
What is it like to be truly honest about my heart?
I like being known as a "good guy," but isn't that a form of pride, too?
They tell us "pride's destruction's friend and haughtiness makes fall,"
But "have a little pride," My Friend, stand well before us all!
How much double-talk is that?
I can narrate the Seven Deadly Sins and maintain my "good guy" image, while being proud of it.
Yet, I can illustrate the Seven Deadly Sins and lose the pride of self-respect,
while being proud of knowing that it's wrong to act in such a dirty way.
Of all the Seven Deadly Sins, I know that Pride's the King,
For as we act on every one his resonance doth ring.
Is it too proud of me to say that I don't really like thinking about the Seven Deadly Sins
because we have the tendency to become that which has our focus.
Would it not be better to focus on the Seven Blessed Virtues of
prudence, justice, temperance, courage, faith, hope and charity instead?
The Apostle Paul wrote long before the church fathers canonized the Seven Virtues,
but he seemed to have the ideas upon which they were based.
whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue,
if there be any praise,
think on these things."
How great to think on what is true
and honest ev'ry day!
My brethren live in justice through
as pure things you must say!
The lovely brings great joy to mind
and good reports are best.
Without a virtue we'd be blind,
but praise will pass the test.
Just think upon these things, My Friend,
at first and fin'lly, too,
For they will help your life to mend
with lasting joys so true!
Will we ever fully marry prose and poetry together as a new and remixed genre?
That weighs heavily on the shoulders
of the readers,
and linguistic purists
of all epochs and
of all locales.
Maybe there is a similarity between the prose poetry genre for writers
and the middle-of-the-road musical genre for radio stations.
When asked to describe "middle-of-the-road"
(or MOR as it is designated in the logbook,)
one radio announcer quipped,
"I think 'middle-of-the-road' is more like 'all-over-the-road'."
I heartily agree!
How could I talk this way all day to tell you ev'ry story in my mind?
I may be able to write words and make them flow in ev'ry sort of way,
but then I would be playing with the words and making meaning's very blind.
Could it be that that's another thought for another day?
by Jay O'Toole
on April 18th, 2017