Fog horn bellow romps.
Many men, they brood, snarl, bark.
Bred fight dogs, panting.
A world divided needs the poet in you. The careful, deliberate voice in all of us needs expression now. And the place where it most needs to be heard is in that often vulgar, vile, vicious vector of all things rash, rushed, and unreasonable: social media.
You are hereby challenged to write only poetry in social media posts about politics from this point forward. Be it haiku, rap, nursery rhyme, or some other meticulous mesh of well-meant words, take the time it takes to craft what you communicate to your fellow humans. Write like you have something of value to say.
And why poetry? Because poetry conjures the evocative, layered nature of language to help us suckle meaning from the muddled murk of what we think we believe we think we feel. Poets are to words and thoughts what watchmakers are to gears and levers, forging form and function to help us feel the pulse and rhythm of life beyond our current space and time. Poetry is a song of Time, a humming hymn of action bowing to progress, to that which is greater than Itself.
Poetry is language evolved. And language is the first human technology. In language, humans converted the energy of grunts and moans into words the way computers convert digits into information. Language was the Internet before electricity. It is where we searched stories for meaning, for joy, for truth and understanding. Language taught fire and taught medicine and taught philosophy. Language is the driver of human evolution, the all-spark, the engine of human understanding, and the catalyst of human potential. Language is the mortar of civilization and, as poet Margaret Atwood declares, war is what happens when language fails.
And these days war is the story every day. Our earth is swollen with the waste of insatiable consumption as we wade through distraction bitter in the bliss of detached connections while the world awaits our fingertips offering a mood switch at every click of clicks from which consequence comes in a blizzard blitz of enticements we can’t resist leaving us desensitized and comfortably numb while death and destruction run amok among our young. We are in a world of trouble. And yet, that trouble breeds poetry.
And poetry is a sublimely designed vehicle, a finely tuned engine, and a masterful driver of ideas. And rhyming poetry is particularly effective at this because it is easy on the ears and easier to recall and can bring beauty to pain, empathy in small doses. And poetry offers answers in the questions it poses. And we need more questions pulled from the ashes and the dust, from trouble and the history from which it is thrust.
And we need poetry that rhymes; poetry that has correspondence in the terminal sounds of its composition. Breaking down the meaning of rhyme releases a powerful analogy for what we need in these times of discord and disunity. Rhyme is the correspondence in the terminal sounds of a composition.
And correspondence is a close similarity, connection, or equivalence; something that one thing shares with another. This could be a value, an experience, or a moment in time. Correspondence is a point of connection between things. Yes rhyme is the correspondence in the terminal sounds of a composition and correspondence is a point of connection between things.
And if terminal refers to forming or situated at an end or extremity of something, and also refers to a transportation route or a station along a route, then terminal refers to an ending that serves as the starting point to something else. Terminal means transitional. And rhyme is the correspondence in the terminal sounds of a composition.
And if composition is the nature of something's ingredients or constituents; the way in which a whole or mixture is made up, or, alternately, a composition is a work of music, literature, or art, then composition is the make up of a creation. And rhyme is the correspondence in the terminals sounds of a composition. Thus, if after breaking rhyme down we put it back together, rhyme is a point of unity between things in transition as they make up a creation.
The present rhymes in two directions with its past and its future. Molecules rhyme in the various forms of matter. Atoms rhyme in fusion and in fission. Cells rhyme when they divide in anything that is living. The artist rhymes the real and the imagined the way the builder rhymes the blueprint with the building.
We all rhyme with some ancestor who wore our faces in black and white, and spoke our voices in the darkest nights, and walked our gait in a day under the same sun, breathing the same oxygen in the breath you took as these words were written.
Rhyme is like that. Rhyme is, like life, symmetry, balance, and the repletion of repetition. Life is rhyme. And any progress in this life must rhyme with the core, timeless needs that all people in all places at all times share: self-expression, togetherness, purpose. Progress, as it rhymes what we are with what we could be, progress is rooted in where we are and pulls us forward to where we should be.
And we who want the world to progress have to change our story from only powerfully pointing out what we are against and clearly calling out what’s wrong, to artfully attracting people to what we are for and building the beautiful on what’s right. We need our politics to become poetry.
And thankfully our planet is round. So if you walk your mind outside and go down left, all the way to left, as far left as you can go, you can greet your neighborhood Black Blocker with a warm “Anarchism is order, Government is chaos” in the morning. Alternatively, if you walk your mind right, all the way right, as far right as you can go, you can say “minimum government, maximum freedom” to your friendly neighborhood Libertarian at the end of the day. And they, being next-door neighbors, can be heard arguing across the narrow alley between them.
Thankfully we are on a round planet so the extreme left and extreme right can yell at each other from across that dark alley of ideology. And we can imagine them rhyming slogans back and forth at each other:
“Free Minds will make Free Markets!”
“Property is Theft, Eat the Rich!”
“Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom!”
“Political power comes from the barrel of a gun!”
“If your aren’t Libertarian, you aren’t paying attention!”
“The direction, insurrection. The solution, revolution!”
And in all that confusion, there is still rhyme, a point of unity between things in transition as they make up a creation. And in the rhyme there is a radical center, a radical center where white is a color and man is a myth, where we are all people of color, gender unspecific. Where humans are animals, and the planet is us all. Where religion listens when science calls. Where science acknowledges its limits. There is a radical center that holds us together. And you are there. And all are welcome. It is radical in the mathematical sense, meaning at the root.
And the root is clenched to the earth, balled up in twists like the veins in a fist raised for freedom. And freedom is getting information instead of ideology. Freedom is learning from it all, from the right to the left, to consider it all then take the best and leave the rest. We can learn from capitalists about how to catalyze and learn from socialists about how to prioritize. We can learn from politicians about how to compromise and learn from activists about how to lock eyes on the prize. In Freedom even perceived enemies have something to teach. Every heart and mind is within freedom’s reach. In freedom is the ultimate rhyme.
Rhyme is why your children love the Hip Hop that recycles your favorite songs, and why so many who once loved Dr. Suess grew up to love Hamilton. Rhyme is for dreamers and I ain’t the only one who believes there’s some reason Lennin sounds like Lennon and the literary Cannon wields a cannon and the only way to set the mind free is to hip hop hibby to the hibby to hip hip a hoppa you don’t stop a rockin to the bang bang boogie till up jumps the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie to be. Yes even when rhymes are silly, they are, at least, silly.
And believe it or not, there are those among us who look down on rhyme as childish and simplistic. The same folks, I suspect, who look down on the insect; the spider perched above in a galaxy of web, spun from it’s own body. These be the same folks who look down on the lizard whose every skin cell is an individual artist in a symphony of metachrosis; who even look down on the dogs whose love they cherish. What fools we can be when convinced of our own garish complexity.
But the most powerful poetry is the simple symbol, especially when it is rhymed with the infinite, divine, purpose of progress. Every movement for progress has been rooted in simple symbols: Gandhi in his Khadi at the loom spinning resistance to the British exploitation of an Indian cotton boom; the Zulu marching a dance to freedom; Freedom Riders singing Mississippi terrorism to submission.
Progress is poetry, each one of us a syllable, a word in a phrase of days done, of days to come, of future people who wish you could see you: a ménage of hues with treasures of talents and tools; the truth empowered to renew and rejuvenate, who refuse to resuscitate the old ways that confuse and reduce a human being to a gender, class, or race; who redefine politics as we know it as poetry.
And we are what democracy looks like. We are power to the people. We are the future in the flesh. We hold the hands that weave tomorrow. We think the minds that conceive what’s next. We dream in color and we’ve come to wake the world up. We reach out and connect like webs to form networks to keep in touch. We destroy the constructs that divide us and build bridges of unity. From every country to every city, we are the world community. And we must be encouraged because the revolution will be rhymed and it is coming right on time.
So be you in the streets stomping for justice or in power writing policy; be you in schools deconstructing ignorance or as artist creating space for the visionary; whatever you be, be a poet and be encouraged. If you can speak, speak poetry. If you tweet, tweet poetry. Take time to make your work a poem.
And if you can walk, walk a song even if you walk alone. f all you do is listen, listen for the truth and listen for encouragement for whatever it is you do. Rhyme the history of progress with your every forward breath and make your dream world come true. Lift your little bit of this 7.532 billion and know that we are building a world for our children’s, children’s, children’s children. We are making politics into poetry.
And so you are hereby challenged to write only poetry in social media posts about politics from this point forward. Be it haiku, rap, nursery rhyme, or some other meticulous mesh of well-meant words, take the time it takes to craft what you communicate to your fellow humans. Write like you have something of value to say. Make your politics poetry.