"Sleeping Bacchus" by Girodet DeRoucy Trioson‘Ode to Numbness’ by Thomas Benstead The Society May 11, 2021 Culture, Humor, Poetry 7 Comments . Piteous Fools! The time has comeWhen all men seek to be is numb.The toils of our daily lifeDo overwhelm us all with strifeWithin ourselves; we aim to findA refuge somewhere for our mindTo have its day of rest; the meansMay vary, as do our routines,From day to day, from man to man,From place to place, from clan to clan:He takes a shot, and she a sip,And from their anguish both shall slip;The great allure of blinking screens,With clever memes or smutty scenes,Will tantalize as they fluoresce,Distracting from our mental stress;Assorted drugs that blunt the brain,From opioids to Mary Jane,(Of varying legality)Will work to dull acuityIn those who turn to them. You seeThe marvelous varietyOf methods to anesthetizeThe issues in our daily lives—I could go on, lest these my wordsRepetitive become, like birdsA-chirping ceaselessly, and henceBecome a means to dull your sense. We aim to be made numb. That weDo live in such society—That it lives on, a cancerous wreck,Such great inheritance made dreckBy foolish men (who’ll stay unnamed):To hand this down, I am ashamed—Depresses me beyond belief.And thus to deal with all this griefO’er our societal distress,I seek to be made numb. Oh yes!I look not from the outside in:I’m one of those, with much chagrin,Who sees our shared and sorry state,And thus is tempted to abateAfflictions that torment the soulIncreasingly. “If I controlMyself,” I thought, “perhaps I canGird up my loins now, like a man!”Alas, I can’t: my fortitude(If not dissolved) is quite subdued:The means that make opaque my painDo thereby my resolve enchain,Methinks; thus, due to lack of spine,Uneasily I may resignTo blanch my worries quietly, At one with my society.With men deprived and men depraved,Then who among us shall be saved? The Noonday Demon reigns supreme—At least, to me, it does so seem;His mark, on neither head nor hand,Yet can be found in every land:Those melancholic mild-eyesThat stare out to the dark-blue skies,And mumble out with whispered breath:“Give us long rest or death, dark death,Or dreamful ease.” But does this please,To mitigate and to appeaseOur woes? Alas, ‘tis all for naught,For once the rest we seek is caught,Then we shall suffer nonetheless,And so increase our mental stress:The waters sought so direlyAre sullied so entirelyBy dust that burns the weary throat,Preventing use as antidoteTo thirst, and still we drink it up—“Drink up the plague, prepare the cup!”We say, deep in our heart of hearts:We trick ourselves, in fits and starts,To assuage our futilityBy feigning some utilityIn our search for tranquility—Or, dare I say, senility.It thus seems rest is death and rot; We seek out death and find it not. And as ennui enveloped me,It suddenly occurred to me:One numbs the pain, so too the joysDissolve, like music into noise… . . Thomas Benstead is a recent graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School. He lives in Toronto, Canada. NOTE: 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 email@example.com. 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. 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) 7 Responses Ryan Watch May 11, 2021 My compliments to you Mr. Benstead for composing this intriguing ode that accurately captures the hopelessness and melancholia of our time. I was particularly riveted by your poem’s first stanza, as they sketch a sorrowful, yet realistic picture of how people cope with the despair and suffering caused by the recent pandemic. I was also impressed with the rhythmic rhyming scheme that you applied throughout the ode, and it inspired me to write a poem of my own (albeit in a zejel form.) Once again, my compliments and gratitude to you for inspiring me with your insightful and profound poem. “Thoughts of a Romantic Thinker Born in a Modern Age” Why was I born inside this cage? This prison called the modern age. A time where people care for gold Waging their wars with hearts so cold. We watch watch our world’s ruin unfold This prison called the modern age. An age where technology starts, And all the love for art departs. Thus children lose their open hearts In this prison, the modern age. If only I went back in time, Back when the world was in its prime. That time when art flourished its rhyme; Yet, I’m here in this modern age. Reply Julian D. Woodruff May 11, 2021 Mr. Watch, I think a large part of the sorrow and suffering with which we have to cope stems from their NOT having been caused by the “pandemic.” Reply Ryan Watch May 11, 2021 A error on my part as we have struggled to cope with our inner issues before the pandemics. Gail May 11, 2021 Wow! Yes, but please don’t resign. Perseverance matters more than fortitude. (Here a little, there a little. Every single jot and tittle. Ha!) Marching on . . . you, too? I need to get on with my (real!) day–too much noise in here. Reply Margaret Coats May 11, 2021 In accord with its mostly tetrameter line length, this poem reads quickly, because the poet has quite carefully crafted the flow of words and of thought. The short ending stanza is very effective. The topic would suggest a burlesque ode, but the treatment seems serious most of the time, showing excellent management of tone. Well done, Mr. Benstead. Reply Daniel Kemper May 12, 2021 I liked the punchy conclusion. Bukowski said, “Endurance is more important than Truth.” Reply C.B. Anderson May 17, 2021 In a word: tedious. Reply 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. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.