it must be hard to be a man no, wait—what am I saying? that’s the old story from the other half of the sky the thunder clouds and tornadoes laughter at the unclothed emperors exposure of their weakness: how is that harder to take than the centuries of servitude, social cages, sub-human status, eons of denied personhood? they say: not all men as if that meant anything to us we say: me too, all women finally, we use our voices finally, someone is listening we listen to ourselves
children's eyes open wider see more possibilities colours brightest shapes malleable flavours pungent textures novel music expansive every sensation honed to its finest peak children create their own rituals find meaning in small things until adults, institutions constrain, crush them insist they conform to some norm unperceivable by open eyes paths leading only to darkness constricted ways of thinking opportunities forever lost what could the world be if we loosened those bounds guided with kindness steered gently, by example fostered knowledge, understanding in place of indoctrination ignorance, lies-to-children? a better place, I think a discovery worth making
To The Max
Maximillian had a million maxims He was full of aphorisms, a proverb for every occasion It was axiomatic that, if someone asked a question, Maximillian would provide a truism, by way of answer. It happened that, one day, Maximillian stumbled upon a question for which he could find no ready answer: What is truth? He pondered long in search of the magic formula that would satisfy. Finally, Maximillian sought help from others, a revolution in his narrow world. Observed fact, said the scientist. Received wisdom, said the preacher. Error's opposite, said the teacher. Whatever I say, said his mother. Maximillian found none of these solutions satisfactory -- today's facts could be modified by new discoveries, doctrine was merely hearsay, he could avoid error and oppose one saying with another. Perhaps, he concluded, the best way to define truth would be the absence of lies. It was much easier to spot someone lying than discern innate truthfulness. A negative view but a practical one. Maximillian dumped all million maxims into the well of oblivion, where they sank unnoticed and unregretted. He determined to think for himself, rather than let others think for him.
©2022 Adrienne Stevenson
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…(she/her) lives in Ottawa, Ontario. A retired forensic scientist and Pushcart-nominated poet, she writes in many genres. Her poetry has appeared in more than forty print and online journals and anthologies in Canada, the USA, the UK, and Australia. When not writing, Adrienne tends a large garden, reads voraciously, and procrastinates playing several musical instruments.