Charlotte Corday kills the French revolutionary Marat. (Painting by Hauer)‘Bang!’ and Other Poetry by Susan Jarvis Bryant The Society March 10, 2021 Culture, Humor, Poetry 35 Comments . Bang! “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”—This quote was attributed by John Kennedy to medieval thinker Dante Alighieri I’m polite and I am civil. I am civil and polite. I nod at dullest drivel, My eyes and head don’t swivel, I make the heavy light. I’m a champion of propriety Without an ounce of spite, Embracing all that’s trite With airs of pure delight. I avoid all notoriety While tempering anxiety That sullies our society In times of fight or flight… Until you mention politics. The fix is in, it’s in the fix. My inner brawler kick, kick, kicks— Bang! Bang! Bang! I am meek and I am mild; I am mild and I am meek— Imperturbation’s child, I’m unruffled, never riled, It’s tranquility I seek. I’m a spreader of serenity— No short shrift, sass or cheek. You’ll never hear me shriek, I’m whisperingly chic. My voice is an amenity With soothing coos of lenity, I dodge and duck obscenity In times of fits of pique… Until you mention politics. Sticks and stones, stones and sticks. My inner F-bomb tick, tick, ticks— Bang! Bang! Bang! . . Kindred Spirits I see her every morning and I think, A slick of lipstick wouldn’t go amiss. A glossed-on grin might grab her from the brink Of misery’s mascara-smudged abyss. Her sorrow saps the sparkle from each eye And furrows flaw her forehead with a frown. Her pout is pursed with pity’s pissy sigh, For every up she has just plunges down. Her simpering has suffocated zeal. Her carping’s clipped the wings of sky-high bliss. I wish she’d quit each fit of squawk-and-squeal And purge her urge to snipe and gripe and hiss. If only I could cure with warm affection My melancholic bitch of a reflection. . . Susan Jarvis Bryant is a church secretary and poet whose homeland is Kent, England. She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas. Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets). NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 35 Responses Russel Winick March 10, 2021 Susan: Thank you as always for your poems. Kindred Spirits does a terrific job of speaking to, as I read it, the relatable struggle to change and improve oneself, and become more consistently positive in nature. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant March 10, 2021 Thank you very much, Russel – the struggle in Kindred Spirits is a struggle I bear daily of late… I’m beginning to smile and only griping poetically, so things are on the up. 😉 Reply Paul Freeman March 10, 2021 I particularly liked the first poem. It reads like a Gilbert & Sullivan or a My Fair Lady song. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant March 10, 2021 Thank you, Paul. I love to play with form and thought the arrangement of this added to the humour of the message… I’m now going to try singing it. I’ll take great delight in the explosive chorus. Reply Bruce E. Wren March 10, 2021 Hi Susan. I always enjoy your poetry, and this small collection is no exception. However, for the sake of intellectual integrity, you should know that Dante never said, or wrote, that quote you placed at the beginning of your poems. I am an assiduous Dante reader, and it just didn’t sound right, so I looked it up. According to this article, https://harpers.org/2010/10/dante-the-curse-on-those-who-do-nothing-in-the-face-of-evil/, it was John F. Kennedy who attributed it to him, but wrongly so. Dante does “blast” the souls who “sit on the fence” in Canto III of the Inferno, but he never wrote that quote. Of course, the darkest places in Hell are reserved in the “Comedy” to traitors. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant March 10, 2021 Bruce, thank you very much for your observation on the quotation front. I must apologize for this. I gave all my time and attention to the poem and picked out the quote without due diligence. I’ll be more careful in the future. Reply Sally Cook March 10, 2021 As always the best satire. Thanks once again ! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant March 10, 2021 Sally, your comment is a golden ray of sunshine in the dark world of dodgy politics. I do believe my reflection may smile back (Mona Lisa style) tomorrow morning, as a result of your kind words… thank you! Reply C.B. Anderson March 10, 2021 Bang! Thanks for the morning wake-up call. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant March 10, 2021 You are most welcome, C.B. – anytime… BANG! Reply Gail March 10, 2021 Reading Psalms can help with the melancholic bitch–taking pictures of birds probably helps, too, I’d imagine. Really, wonderful–you have yet, in my limited experience of your work, to lay on a burden without also teaching. Refreshing as ever. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant March 10, 2021 Gail, I love your advice. Encouraged by your words, I have immersed myself in Psalms today and I have arranged a birding trip for Friday… I’m feeling a little more smiley already. Thank you too for your continued support of my poetry. Hopefully, after reveling in the glory of avian splendor, I’ll come up with some poetry that will cheer everyone up. Reply Joe Tessitore March 10, 2021 Brilliant, Susan! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant March 10, 2021 Thank you, my friend! Reply Joe Tessitore March 10, 2021 P.S. I’m a martini guy as well – after passing my 70th birthday, it would be more accurate to say that I have fond memories of once being a martini guy. Mine was Bombay Sapphire up with a twist. In Manhattan restaurants, they cost as much as dinner. Reply Sally Cook March 10, 2021 Joe – What is Bombay Sapphire? Some kind of blue liqueur? For years I concentrated on making sure my drink matched my dress; later I went with bourbon and wawa, no ice. Now I just enjoy a nice glass of good red wine. Reply C.B. Anderson March 10, 2021 Stick with the red wine, Sally, because it is good for you (but not much better for you than plain red grapes). Bombay Sapphire is just an intensely herbal gin. It’s a clear liquid, though the bottle it comes in might be tinted blue. Susan Jarvis Bryant March 10, 2021 I’ve just discovered the wonder of the shaken-not-stirred lifestyle, Joe… and there’s no going back! Purely medicinal, of course. 😉 Your “Bombay Sapphire up with a twist” sounds like it has the sort of Bond sophistication I’m looking for in Tequila country… oops, that may be a Texas faux pas! Reply C.B. Anderson March 10, 2021 Tequila, Susan, is just fine if you can’t get your hands on a case of Lone Star Beer. As for the James Bond martini angle, I think it went from stirred-not-shaken (Sean Connery) to shaken-not-stirred (subsequent actors) to “Do I look like a man who gives a damn whether his martini is stirred or shaken?” (Daniel Craig) Anyway, self-medication is a Constitutional right. Whatever floats your boat is the medically endorsed prescription. A line from an old song by Dillard and Clark: There’s a train leaves here this morning, I don’t know what I might be on. C.B. Anderson March 10, 2021 I don’t want to leave you hanging, so here is the whole song: Susan Jarvis Bryant March 11, 2021 C.B., I love your James Bond observation… I’m in the Daniel Craig camp. Thank you for the Dillard & Clark song – my reflection stared back with a furrowless brow and a grin as their music soothed and smoothed this morning. Corey Elizabeth Jackson March 10, 2021 The blistering and incisive criticism of the baleful lady in your stark and biting sonnet is captivating. There are flavours of dry wit in it reminiscent of some of Shakespeare sonnets’ more understated ironies. The theme of the alluring yet often complex young lady is also familiar to many a Shakespearean sonnet. Packing a unique and satisfying punch is the scathingly effective self-criticism of the final couplet! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant March 10, 2021 Corey, thank you very much for your comment with all its attention to detail. I’m a huge fan of Shakespeare’s sonnets, one of my favourites being 130 – My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun… I love the humour and the wonder the poem brings. If mine is but half as good as The Bard’s masterpiece… I’ll be grinning for a year – no more smudged mascara and frown lines! With much gratitude for your fine eye. Reply Jeff Eardley March 10, 2021 Susan, you are bang-on with “Bang.” You would not believe the heated vitriol between friends over here during the interminable Brexit debate. “KindredSpirits” is brilliant. Time for one of those curvy mirrors I guess. We await the Meghan Markle verse. I was going to write one but I have still got my fingers stuck down the back of my throat after watching that interview. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant March 10, 2021 Jeff, thank you so much for your highly amusing comment. And, yes… I can most certainly believe the heated vitriol between friends during the Brexit debacle. I had many a scorching debate with friends and family. That’s when I stopped reading fiction and read everything I could clap my eyes on about the politics of Brexit… Rod Liddle’s “The Great Betrayal” being my go-to favourite. .. dear Mr. Liddle helped me out of many a dark debate corner. LOL I’m glad you liked Kindred Spirits… I sweated over the title. I didn’t want to give the game away… and, I’m glad it worked. I’ve just read Piers Morgan has been sacked for not apologizing to the sparkling Markle. I never thought I’d say that I admired the patronizing Piers… but, I do. Oh, what a strange world we live in. Great fodder for poetry, though! Reply Joseph S. Salemi March 10, 2021 Both poems are great, but I love the surprise ending of “Kindred Spirits.” Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant March 10, 2021 Joe S., I’m thrilled you like them. I must point out that I adopted a faux persona, such is the creative wonder of my vast imagination. 😉 Reply David Watt March 11, 2021 Tremendous poetry Susan.The closing couplet of “Kindred Spirits” made my day. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant March 11, 2021 David, thank you! I’m glad to have made your day that much brighter… we could all do with an extra dose of humour these dire days. Keep smiling, my friend! Reply Daniel Kemper March 11, 2021 I’d like to praise the brilliance of the first because the difficulty of just-right humor, satire and hidden depth wrapped in so-called light verse has an added and under-appreciated difficulty factor. Brava! Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant March 13, 2021 Thank you very much, Daniel! I thoroughly appreciate your attention to detail. Reply Norma Okun March 13, 2021 I am so glad that the quote found the proper place. Nonsense is nonsense and I am glad Susan you find it fun to try to put that into some metrical rhyme. At least it was what I got out of The Bang. The Kindred Spirits poem, was a little shaky. Either because what you put on the face was not there to stay, or should not be there when you are not feeling happy. Either way both were fun to read. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant March 14, 2021 Norma, your perception knows no bounds. I appreciate your comment and I’m glad you had fun. Thank you very much. Reply Norma Okun March 14, 2021 You are sweet and kind. You also are honest and can be firm. I am glad poetry has found you. Susan Jarvis Bryant March 15, 2021 Norma, thank you very much – I like to think of myself as having all those traits. I fear my honesty may get me into trouble… but I simply have to give in to it and spread it in the only way I know how… poetically. Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.