Monday, April 22, 2013


Last Judgment (detail)
Cappella Sistina, Vatican
Fear Itself

Fear itself …
that is the thing explaining
why bombers bomb
why we cannot control guns
why the Pope suppresses nuns
speaking “radical” humanist words
why “real men” loathe nerds
and arm themselves against
delusions of apocalypse.
Fear is the power of coercion
trumping all notions
of civility, compassion “fittest” assumed to mean
the ruthlessness of nihilists
protecting their own small niche
at the expense of all “soft” targets
“not my problem”
“take care of our own”
dismissing the thoughtful
the adaptive, the truly strong
who mean it when they say
life itself is sacred.
Fear is the tool of men
protesting too much, claiming
to be defenders of liberty
when what they are protecting
is their consumption of advantage
their right to shoot, to profit
to procreate any way they choose
but not you, not you
you must be frightened into
compliance with their rule
their privilege, their proprietary
fist enforcing the lie of superiority
“emotion” labeled “girly” “useless”
except when it is “manly anger”
an excuse to pretend the violence
is just … but it is just their fear
their adrenaline addiction
raging, tolerated, “just the way it is”
not inevitable
just the way things will be
until the greater we
says no
passes the laws that prevent
paranoid bullies from expecting
and getting
our cooperation in their death industry
fear itself.

(Marthe G. Walsh)
Image from the Web Gallery of Art.


  1. Replies
    1. I am grateful that Marthe gives me permission to publish her fine poetry.

  2. The figure in the painting seems to have lost his right hand.

    I like the figure floating to the right of him in the background. Who also has no hands, or legs, if it comes to that.

    1. What can I say, Cathy? The artist is Michelangelo. He gets to do that. :-)

  3. Marthe is an amazing poet ... AND... I must point out, in all humility, of course, that I was the first to publish one of her poems on my blog. So, while I'm happy to have my blog share Poet Laureate status with your blog, I found her first.

    So, with all due respect, Grandmere Mimi:

    Nya, nya, nya boo boo. ;~)

    1. Elizabeth, I did not know you were first. Indeed, credit where credit is due. If Marthe consents, she will henceforth be our Poet Laureate.

    2. Ladies, ladies, ladies ... we share, yes?
      Always delighted to contribute to the "responsive reading" that your blogs so encourage.

    3. Here we are fighting over the privilege of having you as our poet laureate, Marthe. You should be proud. :-)

    4. Amused. Very very amused.
      Wary of all pride related stuff and the splats likely to follow (it is not, after all, the fall but the landing that hurts). :-)

    5. Pride goeth and all that... :-)


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