Another man died … yesterday at peace.
Not the nameless soldier who died unknown.
Far from that, far from that in his release.
Time now that this rock becomes a corner stone;
an anchored turning-point that conquers doubt.
Time now that this voice, with its mellow twist,
is so preserved as a whispering shout
that resonates upon a rising fist:
What one man can endure … so can it be.
What one man can forgive … so too can we.
What one man encouraged … so can it be.
What one man imagined … so too can we.
. Now the corner stone … the rock of ages,
. Nelson Mandela … strong and courageous.
© Tim Grace, 8 December 2013
To the reader: Many things to many people; always an activist. Throughout Nelson Mandela’s long life he was a motivating energy; a source of inspiration to those who wanted to realise a dream. Being the personification of ‘we shall overcome’ meant his impact on social-order was breathtaking. His demanding relationship with illegitimate authorities and corrupt systems provides the key to his strength of character which ever sought the dignity of freedom and justice for all.
To the poet: One of a few biographical sonnets written around this time. Mostly, a singular contrast to the previous sonnet honouring the unknown soldier as a collective metaphor. The finished product bears the hallmarks of a frustrating editing process that almost worked; not completely convincing in the end. There are elements that I like: “the mellow twist … upon a rising fist” suggests a gentle strength without reference to aggression or untrammelled anger.
Never under-estimate self-interest:
a motivating drive that self-rewards.
Take note, observe the well-feathered nest,
lined full of comforts; as pleasure affords.
Don’t take for granted self-interest’s desire;
don’t be gullible or slow to your feet;
don’t be surprised by what Self will acquire;
don’t be the lender who has no receipt.
Take heed, be ready, keep track of the score.
Self seeks advantage, full measures the gain.
Take nothing for granted, rest not assure,
Self seeks indulgence; treats else with disdain.
. Indulgence of self at others’ expense.
. A cruel investment … a social offence.
© Tim Grace, 4 May 2013
To the reader: Possession brings them pleasure and reassurance. Put crudely, their conniving motivation is greed. They are the players who want more than is their fare share; cunning manipulators that contrive a self-serving solution. The psychology of greed would find its origins in an unresolved, deep-seated, sense of lacking… ‘poor me’ seeking restitution; ‘poor me’ retrieving what I’m owed.
To the poet: In the writing of a poem like this there has to be some emotional investment in its authorship. In its composition, it has to express annoyance and disappointment; some skin in the game. As I put pen to paper, I draw upon genuine feelings of frustration to validate my argument, to test its impact and authenticity. In its reading, I need to recognise those same unclaimed investments… the emotion must be raw and real.
What about the drawing of distinctions?
Should they be blurred to favour tolerance?
Is the line concise on contradictions?
What advice does logic bring to difference?
How are we to judge without conclusion?
How so is ‘that from this’ to be defined?
Is ‘to know’ a hoax, a grand delusion?
Are all things to be boldly underlined?
What of two-minds that claim a single-thought?
What of the question that has no answer?
What’s nothing but the invention of naught?
What’s more static than a statued dancer?
. It’s not the answer that in truth divides,
. More so the question that in doubt resides.
© Tim Grace, 3 October 2012
To the reader: The tolerant society is a highly abstracted notion. Those who thrive in liberal communities put aside rigid structures and tolerate difference. In this relaxed and generous environment customs and codes of practice can be questioned and answers refined; ethics evolve. Social contracts are loose and forgiving with cultures flourishing side-by-side. In this social order we prefer the question (process) resist the answer (product) as we crave the experience… all lines are blurred.
To the poet: Earlier, I broke Shakespeare’s sixty-sixth sonnet into a series of twelve sonnets; expanding on his list of grumpy grievances. Likewise, in this sonnet (of mine) I lay down the foundation for a longer exploration of ‘difference and distinction’; again, in twelve parts. The project took a couple of months to complete with other themes and interests put on hold… to what end, I’ll let you judge.