A poet should not but be troubled
By the policies of those in power—
Give a creature who is no greater,
No stronger, no wiser than the rest
A seat at the switch of diversions
It took generations to construct,
And that creature will be a good beast
And get busy diverting good things
To that creature and that creature’s kind.
And that’s power—so much for everyone.
But whether the poet is troubled
Or not, it’s the poem, if anyone,
Who will be asked, if anyone asks,
What did you have to say for yourself?
I wish I could say I made things right,
I cleverly asked for fire, requests
That showed the innocent innocent
And suggested goods gone to the dogs.
I wish I could write I was so good
I went to jail, like good poets should,
And this poem had to be smuggled out.
But I can’t. I don’t trust any power
To resist the clutches of creatures—
Who are, after all, sacrifices
Themselves, gored on the altar of life—
To invite the innocent back home.
This poem doesn’t tell a good story
Fingering culprits, asking for fire,
And if it avoids the fire itself,
It comes down to you through the changes
With nothing nobler than a question—
Have diversions helped you help yourself?