I’ll Have My Say…

by Susan Jarvis Bryant

Don’t spit your ire upon my name.
Don’t tell me that my view’s insane—
to sink down on one knee in shame.
I won’t claim blame.
I won’t claim blame.

Don’t raze my city to the ground.
Don’t force me not to make a sound.
My humble voice will not be drowned.
I’ll stand my ground.
I’ll stand my ground.

Don’t make the shade of someone’s skin
the scapegoat for historic sin,
with no heart for the soul within.
I’ll spurn your spin.
I’ll spurn your spin.

Don’t make the blameless pay today
for all the crimes of yesterday.
Tomorrow’s children can’t be prey
to hatred’s way;
to hatred’s way.

I’ll have my say…


On the Renaming of the Aunt Jemima Brand

by Beverly Stock

Oh, hail and farewell to the old battered Aunt,
The idol of syrup that one can decant,
The Aunt of bright cheer, and the mistress of gold,
Your face was a brand of a sweetness foretold.

You rippled with flavor and brought with you cheer,
And smiled on breakfast—a great overseer!
A woman of goodness, who sated the heart,
And poured out to make all our hunger depart,

Are you disappearing with Uncle Ben?
And genteel allusions one makes to a friend.
Both etched with a laughter and fleeting warm smile,
Enshrined in our memories—shelved for a while?



An Obituary for Common Sense

by Jan Darling

Today we mourn the death of Common Sense
Whose decency and strength we often used
As our true right to mount our own defence
While Gimme Now! and Progress watched amused.

How old was he? We’d never stopped to think.
He’d always been around to help decide
How firmly we should form or break a link
Reminding us that Reason was his bride.
The writings of his deeds recording history
Were stored with love on chapels’ oaken shelves
Each volume held a different family mystery
And that was how we knew about ourselves.

How long did Common Sense abide with us?
For generations this had been his home.
His fame till recent times avoided fuss
Truth with the facts were stored in dusty tome.
When Mem’ry checked she heard to her dismay
There’d be no space to store the hist’ry past
All files were marked so none could go astray,
But no one left there knew how they were classed.

Where Common Sense would leave some simple rules
“Be guided by what’s known before you act”
The fresh new team decided that’s for fools
And threw away the key where rules were stacked.
C.S. had trained us, so we always knew
“I could be wrong” “Life isn’t always fair”
“The rain has started—now what should I do?
Just go inside—it won’t be raining there.”
We knew the early bird would catch the worm
Instinctively we didn’t overspend
We paid our way and always within term
We never borrowed money from a friend.

Stepchildren gathered all around his cask
And signed their names confirming he had died
“I Know My Rights” signed first behind a mask
“I Want It Now” and “I’m a Victim” cried.
“Pay Me for Doing Nothing” quickly scrawled
“It’s Not My Fault” signed last then spilt the ink.
The offspring at their feet just screamed and brawled,
“Will someone go and get the kids a drink?”

The pews were bare, no mourners were in sight
Those left had never known our Common Sense
A few who’d heard his soul had taken flight
Would go but were too busy—no offence.
If you remember him—please pass this on
To fraternity and sorority…
If not do nothing—after all he’s gone—
Ignore his life, join the majority.



It Ain’t Normal

June 19, 2020

by Raymond Gallucci

I can’t go to the movies
Or dine out with my friends.
Corona-flu behooves me
To alter former trends.

At least I can go golfing,
And tennis seems okay.
I keep up my resolving
To walk five miles today.

With June, July and August
(Perhaps September, too),
The summer is upon us,
And yet we fear the flu.

It’s time for normal living
Like swimming in the pool.
Not long before we’re shiv’ring
And kids return to school.

So let us take our chances;
Let normalcy return.
No need to look askance as
We COVID-19 spurn.




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The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

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22 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    This is not a time for rhyme,
    Nor is it a season for reason.
    It could be a year for fear,
    If to stand for the truth
    is now treason.

    Well done Susan, Beverly, Jan, and Raymond.

    Bravo Evan, for maintaining this platform.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      I love your spot-on rhyming take, Joe – the word play in the opening lines is wonderful and the message is so very true. I would also like to echo your nod to Evan for maintaining this platform – it’s a rare thing these days to be able to voice opinion that isn’t mainstream. I am most grateful for that.

      Beverly, Jan, and Raymond – it’s a privilege to be on this page with you all. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your common-sense takes on this dreadful situation. Thank you.

      Speaking of common sense – Jan, your poem says it all, rhythmically, rapturously and beautifully.

      • Jan Darling

        Thank you, Susan. Your praise is praise indeed! I admire your work greatly and wonder at your prompt poetic responses to every situation. Thank you, Evan, for providing this platform for intelligent discussion.

  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    Justin Welby, the moral cretin who is the current Archbishop of Canterbury, has now come out in favor of removing all images of Jesus and God the Father that depict them as Caucasian. This from the primate of Anglicanism, a religion that emerged out of the savage vandalism of English medieval churches, altars, statuary, and stained glass. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    With all due respect to the poets who are publishing here, it’s time for us to stop treating the current situation as one for humor, comedy, and light satire. Nothing that is happening is material for a joke.

  3. C.B. Anderson

    Three of these poems were serious while being funny. Jan’s was serious while being serious. As Joe wrote, this is no time for lightheartedness. Be assured, there will soon come a time when the gathered forces of darkness will try to shut this site down.

    • Mike Bryant

      Yeah… Susan’s “I’ll Have My Say…” is a real knee-slapper. Perhaps I should read it again. I guess I missed the punchline.

      • C.B. Anderson

        You are correct, Mike. So used have I been to Susan’s usual wry tone that I completely missed the dead-seriousness of her complaint in this one. Susan invariably has the first and the last say on almost every subject. I loved your irony, by the way; your wit is second only to one other.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Mike, it’s not just a question of humor. It’s the ingrained habit of too many of us to think (in the face of massive evidence to the contrary) that our opponents are rational persons of good will, and who are amenable to argument and persuasion. They’re not.

      And Kip Anderson is quite correct. It’s only a matter of time before they come after this website. What then? Will we all congratulate ourselves on how polite and reasonable we were?

      • Mike Bryant

        Joe S,
        First, there was nothing humorous about Susan’s poem. It was exactly what I imagine that you might say. Second, I also agree with Kip that they are coming after us. And third, neither Susan nor I believe that our opponents have even an ounce of good will among them. I’m not polite or reasonable with our opponents. However there are many among our friends and families who WILL become our opponents if we are not reasonable with THEM while getting our point across. And therein lies the rub. I think Susan has pushed it as far as she can. Recently Susan has written of three men murdered in England, the defacement of the Cenotaph in London and this poem on speaking out to these terrorists. Perhaps you and CB would like to post a poem or two to show us the way.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        To Mike —

        I know that Susan’s poem is not humorous. It’s an excellently crafted piece but, to my way of thinking, it is simply not combative enough. It addresses the enemy as if there were still any basis for argument.

        A minor side issue: Just why are your “friends and family,” at this flashpoint of incendiary revolution, still refusing to support Trump and the Republicans? Are they deaf, dumb, and blind?

        Actually, I’m too furiously angry right now to write a poem as a model for you, but if I manage to do so, it will be as excoriating as prussic acid on a raw wound. That’s the only language our enemies deserve.

        You and Susan are lucky, because you live in a state where you still have free access to guns and ammunition. That’s not true for me and for C.B. Anderson, and for many others at this website.

      • Mike Bryant

        Joe S,
        Susan’s poem is about freedom of speech and was addressed to everyone. Many of our friends and family live all over the world. And many of those places have media in step with our MSM. This website is a beacon of truth and sanity to that world.
        I do thank God that we live in Texas

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Dr. Salemi, I agree with every single word you’ve said and feel very much the same. I also feel very isolated, angry, anxious and helpless where my friends and family are concerned. I have no hope of visiting them for goodness knows how long, and it hurts.

        As far as my poem is concerned, I tried pretty hard to convey how I feel about hanging on to freedom in what I considered to be a clear and forceful way. I know the problem we have with this lawless political power grab for a new world order, but I feel the bigger problem is the fools who know nothing of history and are siding with this evil cause. I wrote this poem aimed at them and hope it says more than the one above:

        Deconstructing Independence

        They came for words and twisted them
        to tout their toxic view.
        They came for eyes and misted them
        with visions skewed anew.

        They came for minds and molded them
        to suit their artful aim.
        They came for hearts and scolded them
        with searing slights and shame.

        They came for tongues and tethered them;
        they reined in truth with stealth.
        They built their nests and feathered them
        with beaten people’s wealth.

        They came to towns and ravaged them
        then razed them to the ground.
        They came for God and savaged Him
        and no soul made a sound.

        They came for cops and cowered them;
        spilt blood on brutal streets.
        They came for sheep, empowered them;
        all airwaves blared their bleats.

        They came to loot a lawless land
        that bowed on bended knee;
        felled folk who took a flawless stand
        for those too blind to see…

        for those too blind to see the cost
        of evil’s heinous spree…

        for senseless fools whose stupor lost
        the gift of liberty.

        I know very little can be done with poetry, and I know many are probably fed up with my seemingly futile attempt at getting a message across, so I’ll put down my pen for a while.

        My thoughts and prayers are with you, C.B., and everyone suffering in these shocking times.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Mrs. Bryant, your poem “Deconstructing Independence” is powerful, and also upsetting. Yes, the problem is the sheer historical ignorance and political cluelessness of too many otherwise decent people who are going along to get along, out of a kind of inertial sociability and kindliness. They don’t see the danger. In fact, it’s hard to get them to even imagine it. For them, what’s happening in our streets is just a lot of temporary noise that will soon go away, and we can then just return to our barbecues and church picnics under the rule of the cretinous (but harmless) Joe Biden, minus some equestrian statuary.

        They do not see that we are in the same situation as Czarist Russia in the months before the October Revolution of 1917. Back then, all sorts of brainless liberal bourgeois types were saying that everything would be all right, that things were going to calm down, that the feckless Kerensky was an astute leader, and that the Bolsheviks were no real threat. Yeah — famous last words.

        I fully understand what you are saying about friends and family. I myself find it difficult to talk to anyone other than my wife, my brother, and a few very good friends of long standing. Everyone else is a smiling android in a useless surgical mask.

        And yes — our poetry will not ultimately change a thing. It is a boutique art for a narrow niche-audience, like cameo-carving or Belgian lace. Remember Auden’s words: “Poetry makes nothing happen.” Although one of the idiots who edits the magazine Poetry has tried desperately to re-interpret that quote to turn it into a call for action, its plain sense is quite clear to any rational reader.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        God bless the old woman. She has a lot more testosterone than many American males.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Dr. Salemi, thank you very much for your considered and honest reply. I appreciate every word of it. Poetry has made a difference for me, especially being a member of this site. If it wasn’t for this site, I would never air my views on the current situation as forthrightly as I have. This has extended to my personal life, and I am making the very best of my free speech (fairly and firmly and always with facts and figures) before it is taken away… and even then, my tongue may be still, but my mind will be as rebellious as ever.

  4. Margaret Coats

    Iconoclasts in early modern England did not merely smash stained glass windows and behead statues. They regarded with suspicion all products of the human imagination. One of them was the poet Fulke Greville, who in his Treatie of Human Learning said as follows:

    For if man’s wisdoms, laws, arts, legends, schools,
    Be built upon the knowledge of the evil,
    And if these trophies be the only tools
    Which do maintain the kingdom of the devil,
    Then can these molds never contain their Maker;
    These arts, molds, works can but express the sin.

    Ultimately, the object of iconoclasm’s attack is the human mind, manifested in art objects and in literature (“legends”), but even more in schools, laws, and all human wisdom. Poets have a serious role in battling iconoclasm, each using his or her own talents. I believe it was less than a century ago that Hilaire Belloc wrote his “Ballade of Illegal Ornaments” against a prelate who died in the 1950s, having at some point ordered a clergyman to remove from his church “all illegal ornaments, and especially a female figure with a child.” Belloc’s poem has a disarming rhythm, but it ends with this:

    Prince Jesus, in mine agony,
    Permit me, broken and defiled,
    Through glazed and blurring eyes to see
    A Female Figure with a Child.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Dr. Coats, the iconoclasm of the English Reformation has its roots in the mentality of John Wycliffe. The last of his “Twelve Conclusions” was that Christians were spending too much time and energy on works of art and fine crafts, and that all such productions ought to be banished from the churches. For anyone to say such a thing in the late 14th century, when all Europe was producing magnificent artwork in myriad styles and genres, is proof of a visceral anti-aesthetic animus. This same powerful animus survives in the crazier Reformation sects.

      • Joe Tessitore


        I once suggested – as does Mike, above – that you write a poem.
        Now I’m asking; marshal your anger and pick up your pen.
        C.B., I’m asking that you do the same.
        I find myself getting more and more angry and far less polite.

        We should be thinking about a way to stay in touch with each other if the Society does get shut down, maybe through an email exchange.

        I recommend today’s “Fr. Rutler’s Weekly Column” to everyone – it’s a brilliant take on where we are.

      • Mike Bryant

        Joe T,
        I read the column and he is exactly right. I especially like the quote from Orwell at the end. Fr. Rutler’s column should be carried on Whatfinger.

  5. Margaret Coats

    Dr. Salemi, you are right that Wycliffe’s influence helped lead to iconoclasm. Even better, you identify his views as deriving from a visceral anti-aesthetic animus (considering the vigor of the arts at his time) and that this animus does continue to appear. My point from the unfortunate Fulke Greville (who didn’t hold such an animus early in his career) is that he began to distrust the human mind per se when he caught the animus. He didn’t want to leave art behind in a sort of “rake’s repentance,” but to leave his poetic corpus in a state of utter demolition that could be interpreted as such–and that might contribute to social cataclysm.
    Greville’s idea that human art can manifest only sin seems pertinent to Michael S. Rose’s book on current Catholic church architecture, entitled Ugly As Sin. And Rose argues that neglect of the three fundamental laws of church architecture–verticality, permanence, and iconography–leads contemporary Catholics to worship a false god. Strong language, and makes me wonder even about the tent where I must now attend meetings of the radical TLM (Traditional Latin Mass) movement. We do have good organ music and the sacraments, and no one there likes the current situation. Some secular people will join us in our discontent, as the governor just closed the bars.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Dr. Coats, your points about the anti-aesthetic animus in Fulke Greville, and in the abominations of post-Vatican 2 church architecture and design, are well taken. And I agree with you fully — hatred of visible beauty is a defining characteristic of the crackpot puritanism that is the original source of our political and cultural degradation.

      It’s a shame about your having to hear the Latin Mass in a tent, in a land where we used to have hundreds of magnificent churches and cathedrals that were paeans in fine marble and stained glass and fresco to the glory of God. But your mention of it reminds me of my father’s story of how he and other soldiers in battle-gear would hear Mass during World War II, at makeshift altars in the field, where the celebrant sang in Latin not far from the trenches and artillery batteries. But those conditions were suffused with the immediacy of the moment, and all that mattered was the sacrament itself.

      At this point in history we are in a war just as murderous and savage as that one, and many of us are forced to perform our religious duties “under fire,” so to speak. Today the Holy Mass is celebrated not on an altar of empty ammo boxes, and not with the threat of Germans nearby, but in a tent, in the face of the vicious hostility of the local modernist LGBT bishop.


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