‘The Devil’s Details’ and Other Poetry by Ron L. Hodges The Society May 14, 2018 Beauty, Culture, Deconstructing Communism, Poetry 12 Comments The Devil’s Details There’s a devil in the details, Those traits we like to sort; There’s a devil in the details, The minutiae we contort. We once marched for color-blindness; Now we muster into tribes. Retreat is called advancement In this war of diatribes. Like a costume on the outside, Character is shown by skin; It’s believed a darker fabric Signals more virtue within. Of course, other threads are counted In one’s total merit score— Women all receive a bonus, A lesbian even more. But if by fluke born man and white, That truly is a shame, For with the privilege he owns Comes a most repulsive name. Unless, of course, that man is gay, Which redeems him quite a bit So long as his held views align With Academic Writ. By identity divided, We’re hung as clothes on racks, Not suspecting that such theory Hacks our prospects like an axe. There’s a devil in the details, The minutiae we distort; There’s a devil when these details Are used by dolts to sort. A hero died to make us one, To show us fools the way, Yet the squads of social justice Have made his words their prey. Wrecking the monument he built Of brotherhood and love, They erect an ashen tower To split us from above. Oh, but we can’t let the details Condemn us to take sides— These are merely the varied trees In which a forest hides! For the skin we’re always shedding Like leaves from an autumn tree, And all the varied quirks we share Can’t reveal identity. Content of character is shown Through compassion and respect And tolerance of other views, Traits not owned by group or sect. My beliefs might not jibe with yours; I might not look or act like you, But must this make us enemies? I dispute that this is true. Since these are the devil’s details, Not the core of who we are; And if God cares not for details, Why should they make us war? Let’s pick up the fallen standard Of the faithful ones who died Fighting that lying enemy Who wields details to divide! Closed Form Manifesto You must consider me a fool To write poems the way I do. Everyone knows it isn’t cool— Meter and rhyme were deemed taboo By the powers who make the rules. Publishers and professors, hence, Banned such structure from books and schools, Pushed open forms, arcane and dense. My closed form verse must make no sense. Surely, you must presume me mad, Like one who tilts against a mill, For fighting codes so ironclad; My words will die upon that hill. I must admit, within this Age, Wherein the most convicted claim Objective Truth’s a mental cage, My structured verse won’t earn me fame. So, you must think it’s such a shame. Perhaps I am what you assume, But, since Postmodern thought holds sway, I choose to fight against its gloom, Not throw more chaos in the way. Many say, “Fight fire with fire,” Yet water, to me, seems more sound. We’re withering in wild desire, And, somehow, those flames must be bound. I write so that the measure’s found. Ron L. Hodges is an English teacher and poet who lives in Orange County, California. His works have appeared in The Road Not Taken, Ancient Paths, Calvary Cross, and The Society of Classical Poets Journal 2015 and 2016. He won the Society’s prestigious Annual Poetry Competition in 2016. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related 12 Responses E. V. May 14, 2018 Hello! You have a talent for writing in form. It also took a lot of courage to present this politically incorrect opinion. The Society protects Americans’ right to freedom of speech by permitting poets with a wide diversity of views to express themselves. Reply Joe Tessitore May 14, 2018 I agree with E.V. and Amy. Bravo to you, Ron for writing it and to the Society for printing it! Reply Joe Tessitore May 14, 2018 and may we all write so that the measure’s found! Reply Amy Foreman May 14, 2018 Astute, fearless, and blunt, your first poem tells it like it is: “But if by fluke born man and white, That truly is a shame,” Good for you for saying it! Reply David Paul Behrens May 14, 2018 Both poems are very thought provoking. Well done. Reply C.B. Anderson May 14, 2018 Ron, If you really want to make a case for closed forms, then be more precise in the execution of strict meter, lest you sound like the pot calling the kettle black. And if, all of you, would really want to read something going against the mainstream, then read this: http://pennreview.com/2018/05/the-erato-rats/ Reply Ron Hodges May 14, 2018 Thanks for the feedback Joe, Amy, E.V., David, and C.B. My purpose in the first poem was not merely to “go against the mainstream” because, in criticizing intersectionality, I’m expressing what should be a rather mainstream, original Civil Rights Movement, position. The fact that it’s not “politically-correct” shows precisely how far we have fallen, in my humble view. As far as the strict meter, I do not entirely disagree with your point, yet there is a near equal danger in being too doctrinaire about meter. Just as a legalistic church will drive people away, a legalistic approach to poetry might have a similar effect. In short, “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Respectfully, it’s not all or nothing. But I do see your position. Again, thanks for reading and commenting on the poems! Reply Amy Foreman May 14, 2018 Keep ’em coming, Ron! Your poetry is quite enjoyable to read. And extra points, in my book, to a poet who also knows his Scripture! 🙂 Reply Leo Yankevich May 15, 2018 Bravo! Good stuff. Reply David Watt May 15, 2018 I applaud your thoughtful free expression, and the skill displayed. Reply Joseph S. Salemi May 16, 2018 In your indented and partially-repetend quatrains (the “devil in the details” ones), it might be more effective if they were not only indented, but also put into italics. Reply Dave Whippman May 16, 2018 I liked “The Devil’s Details” – a clever protest against the tyranny of political correctness. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.