Shaping the Words

jose_clemente_orozco_-_the_demagogue_-_google_art_project

By José Clemente Orozco (1883 – 1949), The Demagogue” 1946 – painter (Mexican) Born in Jalisco. Details of artist on Google Art Project [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper”

–T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men”

 

Commencing countdown–

how shall we shape the words

to describe this moment,

did it really happen?

hollow men speak lies—

so many lies—

too many lies—

lies upon lies–

repeated over and over,

they land, seeding fertile brains,

sprouting, growing hate,

a bumper crop this year.

 

Ten, nine, eight–

continue countdown,

centuries of science, exploration,

the processes of experimentation and learning

(inquiring minds want to know)

But the words,

shaped and twisted

turning thought inside out.

“Ignorance is strength,”

cry the demagogues,

as they insist,

two plus two equals five,

and the people cheer.

 

Blast off!

to unseen worlds you go,

but what is your mission?

Do your cylinders and circuits let you dream

and hope there are other beings out there

with other, better words?

I think of how our world might end

with little protest,

a sigh,

a whisper,

but your brief life ended not with a whimper

but with a bang and a crash,

and we are left here to wonder,

what you might have seen

and what truths you might have told us,

and if we would have believed you,

and how we would have shaped the words.

 

This poem is for Secret Keepers Writing Challenge.

The prompt words were: Brief/End/Shape/Land/Blast

This poem was inspired by the recent crash of the Schiaparelli spacecraft ion Mars, the movie, Denial, and the alternate reality viewpoint of DT and his supporters (among them crazy conspiracy theorists and Neo-Nazis). Also, of course, T.S. Eliot and the book, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.

I will be seeing some of Orozco’s work later this week at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, although I’m not sure if the painting above is in the exhibit, “Painting the Revolution.”