the flautist wears a shaman’s headdress, a poem

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gone mad, gone mad
but for the flautist in shaman’s headdress and
the first violinist wearing a necklace of skulls,
praise the intuitive, the holy, the gentle chanting
of the faithful …

defy the bassoonist 
blowing brazen notes over Syria
and the cellists hidden in caves; succour the sad sweet
violins of Aleppo and Palestine crying salt tears
for their lost lands, pulses weakening and there’s
that drummer who 
down-beats from North Korea

China harps on the fumes of its discontents,
the Ukraine is loud with crashing cymbals
and the snap pizzicato of Russian preying,
while the angel of Germany hosts a symphony,
or tries to, & here in America parties are discordant

[the price of order is dictatorship
the price of democracy is chaos]

politicians out of tune, sections out-of-order,
oligarchs charge themselves with theatre management

poor acoustics preclude hearing the chorus …
. . . and all the world’s a stage,
the men and women are not mere players

“As Democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people.  On some great and glorious day, the plain folk of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.”  H.L. Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 216, 1920

© 2017, poem and illustration, All rights reserved


The recommended read for this week is Ted Kooser’s The Poetry 51u0fnastll-_sx309_bo1204203200_Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets.  There’s so much I like about this manual.  For one thing, Ted assumes that if you are a heavy-duty reader, you already know quite a bit.  After all, one of the best ways to learn to write is to read. He operates on the moral principle that if you have a gift then you have the obligation to offer something by way of giving back. He says, “I hope I won’t exhaust your patience” and he doesn’t. He assumes that our ultimate goal is to reach others and to move them, so there is a great deal of emphasis on the relationship between the poet and her reader. He discusses our job as poet – not money, not fame – but “to serve the poems we write.”  This perspective makes reading and working with Ted Kooser’s The Poetry Home Repair Manual a refreshing guide to the poetic terrain for both budding and experienced writers interested in creating work that is fulfilling and truly artistic.

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6 thoughts on “the flautist wears a shaman’s headdress, a poem

  1. All the world listens when poets speak, for their words carry truths about the past and warnings about the future. Lies are exposed and slither away to entice and seduce the unwary. Poets carry the world’s future in their hands, molding and creating, holding their torches high and letting their words lead the way. Thank you, Jamie, for being a torch bearer in a world of chaos and darkness..

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t say I am treated well by the world but I can say I’ve always been given much to write about. Jamie, thanks for your inspiring words. I’m working on fourth book now and always poetry. If I can get the eyes of my heart open and stay inspired, I will be heard.

        Liked by 1 person

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