T._Clifford


Why?

Posted on June 6, 2012

There is a man I’ve never known
Who wants to do me harm
He has been told to hate me
This gives me great alarm

There is a man I’ve yet to meet
Who will try to do me ill
Although he does not know me
Yet he loathes me still

This man is from another place
And would kill me out of hand
He speaks a tongue I’ve never learned
And do not understand

There is this man from far away
Who wants to see me die
I do not wish the same for him
And so I question why

Perhaps his chosen path to truth
Is not the same I’ve taken
Although I can’t fathom why
This should brand me forsaken

This man and I may never meet
I truly hope that’s so
For from that sad encounter
Only one of us would go

Why this must be I do not see
My sight reaches not that far
For he and I have shared this world
Thus far ‘neath sun and star

Last edited by T. Clifford on June 6, 2012, 4:06 pm


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2 responses to “Why?”

  1. Vietnam, eh?

    Always amazes me how people individually get along quite well. But collectively, all it takes is some tyrannical leadership, and all of a sudden, individualism falls away, is replaced by a generic, all encompassing, tribal hatred.
    Your point is well taken.

    "There is this man from far away
    Who wants to see me die
    I do not wish the same for him
    And so I question why"

    Your intuitive, human compassion shines forth here. I imagine you were a member of a minority. Mostly, killing "gooks" would probably not have troubled most of your fellow men.

    Dealing with the technical aspect.
    You have as per usual, worked hard at the craft. What follows are not criticisms, but perhaps pointers to small blemishes. These are subjectively perceived by moi, and you are welcome to flip me your literary middle digit.

    "Perhaps his chosen path to truth
    Is not the same I’ve taken
    Although I can’t fathom why
    This should brand me forsaken"

    The third and fourth lines don’t quite sit well with me.
    I just wonder if this might flow better:

    "Although I can not fathom why
    I’m branded as forsaken"

    Or:  "this should brand me as forsaken"

    Next:

    "Why this must be I do not see     u – / u – / u – / u – /
    My sight reaches not that far      u – / – u / – / u – /    
    For he and I have shared this world  u – / u – / u – / u – /
    Thus far ‘neath sun and star"         u – / u – / u – /

    The second line jars me a bit.

    The way I read it, you’ve got:

    u – / – u /  – / u –

    How about:  

    " I can not see that far"   u – / u – / u – /

    In that case, the second line would match (support) the fourth line, which I really like.

    If you felt that the verb "See" was weak (which it is) then you could play around with other choices.

    "I can not peer that far"

    " I can not grasp that far"

    "I can not grope that far"

    etc.  

    A fine effort. I really warm to your thinking, which I know is carved from emotions forged in the crucible of War.

  2. Moggy;
    Thanks for the honest constructive input.
    Upon reflection some, or at least one, of your structure suggestions makes sense to me.
    I choose, however, being the obstinate soul that I am, to leave the verses as they are. I desire my work to be entirely original, a product of my own creativity, however much or little of that I may possess. A Missouri mule has nothing on me when it comes to stubbornness.

    As to the premise underlying these verses, it has very little to do with my experiences in Viet Nam. That was a war brought upon by governments for their own less than noble  reasons.
    My intent, rather, was to address the baseness of unreasoning hatred at a more individual level. Hate groups such as Al-quaida and the KKK are beneath contempt, as are those robotlike followers who buy into that type of BS, simply because someone TOLD them to.
    Hating another individual based on religion, skin color,country of origin, or any other  trivial reason is to deny every human beings intrinsic ability to reason, to use one’s mind, and through that process form one’s own conclusions.
    Although it would be a lie to say my tenure in Southeast Asia left me unaffected, what lessons I brought away from that place and time were primarily of  a positive nature. I learned an understanding of the more noble aspects of men. Courage, loyalty, duty, respect,and above all else, honor.
    I have tried to apply these lessons to myself, perhaps with questionable success.

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