“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 16, 1920

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, Palestine, Kashmire 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-sync,
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

© 2013, poem and illustration, All rights reserved


The configurations of cruelty have changed a bit since I wrote this poem in 2013 but the cruelty is still with us and often seems worse than ever. And, it certainly turns out that Mencken (quoted above) was prescient.

So how about you? How do YOU see today’s world? Tell us in a poem or poems.

Share your poem/s on theme in the comments section below or leave a link to it/them.

All poems on theme are published on the following Tuesday. Please do NOT email your poem to me or leave it on Facebook. If you do it’s likely I’ll miss it or not see it in time.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, November 19 by 8 p.m. Pacific.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you. This is a discerning non-judgemental place to connect.


Poet and writer, I was once columnist and the associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation Press, The River Journal, The Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman

* The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton


  1. My Obsess*

    Your blue eyes
    So deep but surged
    I wished to swim
    and be merged

    I longed to play with you
    But they called me shameless
    Withered all my flowers were
    Their clutches -my obsess

    I longed for wings
    I desired for a blue sky
    They tied my dreams
    and bade goodbye

    Why I’m so confined
    Should I now be blind
    Why do they blame me
    I just tried a Freedom to find

    Kakali Das Ghosh

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My response dear Jamie :

    My Obsess*

    Your blue eyes
    So deep but surged
    I wished to swim
    and be merged

    I longed to play with you
    But they called me shameless
    Withered all my flowers were
    Their clutches -my obsess

    I longed for wings
    I desired for a blue sky
    They tied my dreams
    and bade goodbye

    Why I’m so confined
    Should I now be blind
    Why do they blame me
    I just tried a Freedom to find

    Kakali Das Ghosh

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “The price of order is dictatorship.
    The price of democracy is chaos”.

    To this I have to say:

    There is a shadow
    in my light,
    That wants to
    take away the joy,
    the naivete,
    and sense of security,
    That I have had
    in Mankind….

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I was a 50’s child. We were fairly sheltered no doubt,
    because of the hardships our elders went through before us.
    I was lucky, pampered and did not do without. But as I grew up
    and the 60’s and 70’s crept in, I heard Chants like “MAKE LOVE
    NOT WAR”. Although I was not perceivably effected by this, or
    knowingly effected, I must have been. I wrote prolifically as I
    grew to be aware of the world around me.
    This is in response to “The Flautist wears a Shaman’s headdress” for Wednesday’s Poetry Prompt. Nov.14th,2018. By a young Jen Goldie. With your permission.

    In all reality the fight is never the reward,
    If reward there be.
    They take the good times when they find them,
    They step on those who could intentionally
    Destroy them.
    They never enjoy the good times but for themselves.
    They would take the bread from your plate;
    They would see you starved and boiled for oil
    when they needed light. They never want to give.
    The loss they suffer is their humanity
    And sense of joy.
    They are Dark People with shining faces.
    They would challenge your integrity to win a fight.
    Fortunately, they do not live around every corner.
    If they did, God help us all.
    The war would have begun and ended Mankind,
    Long ago….

    Liked by 2 people

  5. .end games.

    women of everywhere help each other talk clearly and predict the state of the sea

    women of dolgellau are strong define them selves

    the problems


    a wonder you are not worried sitting there quite nicely watching politics again you are not shaking you were last week


    one hundred years


    some of us have changed our thinking to suit our life

    end games


    Liked by 4 people

  6. some days my world is small here, so….

    .. today across the lane..

    he is splitting logs & sawing

    in the sun

    they will go at the back where the wind

    blows round

    kenny says they take years to dry

    he knows his stuff

    i broke the mower & have two

    strimmers that work

    cut the paths

    tenderly leaving the flowers to grow

    we try not to go out here bank holiday

    week ends

    so a rest indoors now


    in blue writing

    as if

    it is important

    you see


    Liked by 3 people

  7. Dear Jamie Ji thank you for the supreme motivation that has come all the way across the mighty oceans. I have tried to write something worthy of your great platform of creative expression and please accept my deep gratitude for the support and encouragement you have extended for my native language Urdu…jazakallah khair and with a slight apprehension but high hopes I will now press the post comment previously it has not worked..Hope springs eternal….

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Beautiful and deeply poignant, Anjum. I like that you have also included Urdu, your native language. Sometimes I do the same with my mother tongue, Catalan. Thank you = شکریہ (shukria).

      Liked by 2 people

      1. welcome friend,its all due to the loving and consistent inspiration and motivation by dear jamie. You are charming and talented too,and my son and I love your country and language and keep hoping to be there some day…Spanish guitars are just wonderfully attractive and one is thrilled to see the tapping and the clicking…beautiful country and people…thank you..Jazakallah khair…I have some knowledge of the Punjabi language but its a secret as yet…

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Anjum, thank you for your comment. There is just one point about my country I need to make. Catalonia, where I am from, is by itself a smaller country in big country Spain. We Catalans live in a historical nation. We are a stateless people with a distinct language from Spanish, that is Catalan, and also a different culture. However, we have also adopted the Spanish guitar music, flameco sinnging and dancing. And I agree with you that they are beautiful. We also have citizens who originally come from Punjab. Anyway, keep up with your lovely poetry!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Thank you Dear Friend for letting me know more about your country. May peace always be with you and may there be music joy and good health amen. History is my second favorite subject of interest. I will try to read more myself too. Insha allah. be happy dear friend

            Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you so much for such a lovely illustration and poem, dear Jamie. They both combine perfectly. I love the form and the content of the poem, how politics and the evil-doings of the world’s most powerful oligarchies are connected to the elements of music when that art fails in tune, synch, etc. You have touched my heart. I do not know what poem I could send as anything would pale next to the exquisite eloquence of your piece. However, there is poet Donald Standeford, who has helped me improve a poem that deals with the hope we should not lose despite our current dark age. Please give credit to Donald Standeford too, not just to me:

    Liked by 3 people

Thank you!

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