What We Need

What We Need

The Emperor,
his bullies
and henchmen
terrorize the world
every day,
which is why
every day
we need
a little poem
of kindness,
a small song
of peace
a brief moment
of joy.

David Budbill, While We've Still Got Feet. © Copper Canyon Press.


Alphabet said...

Yes, because a little poem of kindness will really stop the Emperor, his bullies and henchmen, and prevent them from terrorising the world. When did this blog become Miss Fluffy?

J M Coetzee's Waiting For The Barbarians (the title is from Cavafy, a real poet) is an actual work of literature on this theme.

Miss Fluffy said...

The irony is beyond metaphor here.

lauri said...

David Budbill is a remarkable poet. Read Judevine. And don't be so cynical about every little thing. What's so terrible about a little beauty?

Alphabet said...

I don't get the irony, though? Is Budbill satirising the trend for sentimentality and Hallmark-level gush in response to real tragedy and totalitarianism in the world, and doing so in Hallmark-style verse himslf? Because that *would* be ironic.

Elektra said...

The real irony is that the Emperor has no clothes--the poet is just too polite to mention it.

Anonymous said...

You know what? I believe a little poem of kindness, if repeated daily by enough of us, really CAN stop the emperor.

There are more of 'us' than there are of 'them'. We only need to decide we're just as important.

Kate Thornton said...

I think simplicity in poetry is sometimes mistaken for Waverly floral fabric or sugared schmaltz.

Not so.

David Budbill's poem is a simple piece of purity. Thank you for posting it.

Carrie said...

Thank you, Miss Snark. I start each class (English 12) with a quote. Today I used this and it sparked a wonderful discussion on hope. It was also the perfect transition into Shakespeare's Sonnets.

sarahsbooks said...

Love that Copper Canyon Press - thank dog they continue to publish great poetry, someone has to. I consider poetry a necessary antidote to what ails us.

lauri said...

David Budbill's poem isn't supposed to be ironic. It's not a satire. It really is a call to each of us to notice and reflect on moments of beauty and small acts of kindness. Take a breather. Look around. Notice the small, beautiful things that are everywhere once we choose to look.

No irony.

B. Dagger Lee said...

so much hating depends

an unexamined

glazed over

beside the white words
of published writers

(All props to WCW.)

yrs, BDL

mamalujo1 said...

Good is
Evil has to

Love is
Hate needs to

Peace is
War wants to

Joy is
Sorrow tries to

Hope is
Despair cries to

Faith is
Doubt lies to

God is
We wish to

[For Miss Snark]

LJCohen said...

To alphabet--It's not that poetry will stop a bullet in its tracks, end wars or suffering, but it reminds us there is beauty worth saving.

What good is poetry?

It buys us nothing, will not
fill empty bellies bloated
with endless promises
or excise a bullet
from an accidental wound
unravel time to force
the trigger to untrip.

But it is the copper penny
spent, redemption
from the poverty of language
that sucks marrow
from the bones of misfortune.

The only thing of value
I can offer.


Miss Snark--thank you for sharing this wonderful, elegant, simple piece by Budbill.

Anonymous said...

Nowhere in the poem does it say anyone will stop the Emperor or his bullies.

All it says is that, even though we are ruled by those who care nothing for us, we should be kind to ourselves. To relieve the stress, I would presume.

The Rejected Writer said...

Needed this today. A lot.

Thank you.

Crash Froelich said...

Simple and pure are excuses for vapid and insipid. Any irony was wasted on those whose intelligence wasn't insulted by the first seven words. Mud pies are not pastry.

As for hermit poets -- give me Musashi every time. There's a stark difference in the quality of observations between those avoiding reality and those confronting it.

Inez said...

thank you for posting it.