Caryatids Discovery to the Max | Adrienne Stevenson

Caryatids

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

Unwrapping
Peter Wilkin ©2022

Discovery

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
All rights reserved



Adrienne Stevenson…

…(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.


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