Allegory for Justice.‘At the Heart of Division’ by Paul A. Freeman The Society July 17, 2021 Culture, Poetry 30 Comments . Each view deemed inconvenient is a fake, no matter if deep down you know it’s true. When one lot says a colour’s red, I’ll make a bet with you the other says it’s blue. This double-think duplicity where facts and common sense get pushed aside by hate results in strange alliances and pacts with those who broach no rational debate. Because my peers, my clansmen and my kin insist the world is flat, must I concur? Because I have a certain shade of skin, to folk of matching hue must I defer? Let Freedom be the star to guide our choice and bless us with an unimpeded voice. . . Paul A. Freeman is the author of Rumours of Ophir, a crime novel which was taught in Zimbabwean high schools and has been translated into German. In addition to having two novels, a children’s book and an 18,000-word narrative poem (Robin Hood and Friar Tuck: Zombie Killers!) commercially published, Paul is the author of hundreds of published short stories, poems and articles. 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 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. 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) 30 Responses lionel willis July 17, 2021 I admire your sonnet, rhymed in the English form, because it says what it says clearly and economically. I have one cavil: the inverted word order (resembling German) in the twelfth line. But I know the problem. I have often felt tempted to solve it by putting the verb I want to use in the rhyme at the end of the line when common usage wants it at the beginning. I do not admire your sonnet because I wholeheartedly agree with what it says. But I do agree. And no doubt one of the fools it castigates will assume my praise is tainted by politics. Reply Joe Tessitore July 17, 2021 If I’m reading the poem correctly, the “other side” of the division denies reality by deeming it an inconvenient fake, even if it knows it to be true, and so lacks intellectual and moral integrity. To add “the world is flat” to the mix adds insult to injury. The comment reinforces this by describing those of the other side as fools. Seems to me there’s a better way to set the table if you’re really interested in bridging the gap. Reply Joe Tessitore July 17, 2021 And if you believe that those of the other side form their opinions based on the color of their skin, why indeed would you want to bridge the gap to them in the first place? Again, if I’m reading this correctly (and I do know my growing limitations), this poem is incendiary, insulting and hypocritical. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant July 17, 2021 At the heart of division is derision; Mocking those with views not tuned to you, Coming to a smug, ugly decision To scoff because deep down you always knew You were right and they were mere ‘Flat Earthers’, Insane, devoid of brain, and just plain thick Uneducated, half-witted observers – Hicks who make a snooty braggart sick. As for skin, like King, don’t make a color The center of political debate. Look within, all skin-hue spin is duller Than a snowflake whining every word is “hate”. Freedom is wild bees in floral bonnets, And hot air wafted from all haughty sonnets. Reply C.B. Anderson July 25, 2021 Very quietly, Susan, this might be one of your best pieces. But the funny thing is that I never took Freeman’s poem as offensive until someone pointed it out. Does that mean that I’m a bad reader, or does that mean that I simply don’t like to read new ideas into texts I read? Reply Ben July 17, 2021 I recently spent some time with some black friends. It’s sad how the democrats created a culture of victimhood. As a Russian, grown up in America, when I go back to Russia I do not feel kinship with Russians. I recognize our shared heritage and shared humanity but my kinship is with Americans. That’s who I am. It’s your country. Not your skin. That being said I believe in reincarnation. We were all black yellow red and the rest. It’s all just clothes. Who cares? Reply Paul Freeman July 17, 2021 Well, there’s more than one way to read the tea leaves. I wrote this sonnet from the fence, watching two sides who have lost all objectivity, and automatically grab onto the ‘facts’ or ‘alternative facts’ that suit the side they’ve aligned with rather than be seen to share a view with ‘the other lot’. ‘The other side’ is merely dependent upon which side you’re on to begin with, so whether or not I’m a flat-earther is irrelevant, which is clear if you bother to read the poem without deliberately or subconsciously colouring the meaning. Labelling me or my poem ‘haughty’, ‘ incendiary’, ‘insulting’ or ‘hypocritical’ I will therefore take as a badge of honour. Thank you all for reading. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant July 17, 2021 Your poem is indeed, ‘haughty’, ‘ incendiary’, ‘insulting’ and ‘hypocritical’ just as you have said. You have claimed those adjectives as a badge of honor. The only respect I have for you is that you’ve revealed exactly who you are. Reply C.B. Anderson July 25, 2021 I don’t know, Paul, but OK. I’ll accept the minority opinion. But don’t be so quick to wear that “badge of honor.” That was the exact phrase Bill Clinton used when characterizing the nature of the Impeachment proceedings against him. But maybe you’re a Clinton fan, in which case, wear it! Reply Ben July 17, 2021 I dont think paul meant any offense. Reply lionel willis July 17, 2021 I agree with Ben. I read the sonnet as a complaint (a traditional role for the form since at least Petrarca) not an attack. As a Canadian I probably did mean some offense in my earlier comment, and I apologize for my childish trick with the stick in the buzzing nest. Reply Paul Freeman July 18, 2021 No problem, Lionel. I’ve got a thick skin, anyway, and all feedback is valuable. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant July 18, 2021 Mr. Willis, you are entitled to your opinion on the poem and you are entitled to poke a “stick in the buzzing nest” – I take no offense. I look forward to reading more of your beautiful poetry. Reply Margaret Coats July 18, 2021 Paul, I could see, before you yourself got into the comments, that the poem could use close reading. And of words, not tea leaves. It’ll take a while to write out, but let me try. Please take it as honest, if not supportive. First two lines. By starting with “each view,” the speaker implies that convenience is the criterion for acknowledging truth, to everyone without exception. This kind of universal statement is belligerent and prejudicial toward everyone, as no one gets credit for serving truth. It undercuts the speaker himself. He is just as likely as anyone to deny inconvenient truth. Remember the guy who said there is no absolute truth, believing this one statement to be absolutely true? Next two lines. Talk about political colouring! You were stuck with blue as a rhyme for true. The only more politically tinged colour is red–and distinguishing those two is your extremely simple example of possible agreement on a fact. Is this a joke? An expression of political despair? Lines five and six. Facts and common sense (truth and the simplest good judgment) now appear as the poem’s values. This is weak, as prejudice in favor of convenience has already been declared universal. But here we also find another name for convenience (the known motive for denying truth). It’s hate. This is a political term for what one’s opponents do–but far more often used by the political left. Rightists tend to accuse leftists of being irrational, and they are less persuasive. After all, which is worse, rightist hate or leftist lack of reason? Lines 7 and 8. Those who hate ally with those who are irrational. Yes, politics makes strange bedfellows. But how or what does this contribute to your poem? Lines 9 and 10. The sonnet turns, and the speaker is totally surrounded by persons who maintain an idea openly agreed by everyone to be false. He calls some of them “clansmen,” an outdated inflammatory term, sometimes used by US leftists about rightists, even though rightists sincerely and explicitly and repeatedly repudiate it. Lines 11 and 12. The speaker wonders whether he ought to identify with his race, knowing full well that the question is in fact many questions that are far from simple. This enables him to avoid the issue, while throwing it up to others. These are probably the best fence-sitting lines in the poem. Lines 13 and 14. The final couplet forgets about truth and reason and common sense, to favor freedom and an unimpeded voice. This wraps up a most unsatisfying poem, now apparently back where it was in the first two lines. Why imply condemnation of double-thinking duplicity, if the point is free choice of how to think, and free speech to say what one wants? Reply Paul Freeman July 18, 2021 Thank you, Margaret. Plenty of food for thought. Just a couple of things. Being British, ‘clansman’ is a more familiar reference to Scotland. As for the blue sky, I don’t think of it as a political colour. My students often mistake a type of colour-coding where air is blue and water is green, so I recommend they take a moment and think of the colour of the sky and what the sky’s made up from. Once again, thanks for taking so much valuable time to give me your thoughts and I’ll put them to good use. Reply Joe Tessitore July 18, 2021 Let me add my thanks to Paul’s, Margaret. This was a great help to me. I thank you as well, Paul. I began to wonder if, what are undeniably buzz words on this side of the pond, may be totally innocent on the other. Margaret Coats July 18, 2021 Perhaps “clansman” is used by members of Scottish clans in the UK, but over here, we of Scots ancestry do a lot of clan gathering, where we refer to ourselves as members of a clan, or in relation to our own clan chief (who sometimes pops over here from Scotland), as his liegemen. Susan Jarvis Bryant July 18, 2021 Margaret, thank you very much for your in depth analysis. I stand by every line of my sonnet. I’m British too and know exactly what Mr. Freeman’s words mean. He has made many intentionally insulting comments, including calling people who don’t think along the same lines as he does “clots” (a derogatory British term for idiot/jerk) on Joe Tessitore’s poem ‘The Final Solution’. He’s doing the same in this poem. Today, we’re not “clots” we’re “flat-earthers”. I enjoy reading different points of view and debating them, but not when the author sets out to intentionally insult. Mr. Freeman almost always places these insults beneath conservative poetry posts in the body of one of his derisive ditties. Today, the insults are in his own post. The beauty of this site is, Mr. Freeman gets the freedom to do just that, and I am free to respond. I know a fork-tongued, incendiary poem when I see one, and this one checks every box. This is nothing new. It’s Mr. Freeman’s modus operandi. Reply Mike Bryant July 18, 2021 Paul… you are so very clever that you can insult us to our faces and we don’t even realize it! Good Show! Too bad there’s someone here that understands the Queen’s English. Reply The Society July 18, 2021 Dear Readers, In defense of my decision for publication, I’d say that Mr. Freeman’s words could mostly be read in two politically opposite ways. It is centrist. For example Each view deemed inconvenient is a fake, no matter if deep down you know it’s true. The 2020 election was almost certainly stolen from President Trump, an inconvenient fact that has been labeled fake. The truth about this has been coming out (in fact, there was overwhelming evidence before Jan. 6). The CCP virus (covid-19) indeed was engineered as a weapon in a lab by the Chinese Communist Party. That was inconvenient and labeled as fake. It turns out that now people on the left are recognizing it as probably true. These are perhaps the biggest sort of global issues facing the world. The final couplet crystalizes the poem’s point. Who is trying to censor who? Who is shutting down the other side fundamentally and categorically? Who is acting irrationally in the discourse of the day? Mr. Freeman is advocating a litmus test. It suggests to me, who was censored by the left-leaning YouTube and had my posts labeled as misleading by left-leaning Facebook, that only one side is clearly in the wrong in our present day. Regards, Evan Mantyk, editor Reply Joe Tessitore July 18, 2021 “Each view deemed inconvenient is a fake, No matter if deep down you know it’s true.” can indeed be read in two politically opposite ways as you point out, but I have never seen “inconvenient” applied either to the theft of the election or to the virus – for me it screams of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and its condemnation and ridicule of “deniers”. I cannot for the life of me come up with an analogous insult that travels in the opposite political direction, and so I do not agree that Paul’s poem is centrist. Susan’s comment from a British perspective erases any doubt I had about his poem possibly being even-handed. I’m glad you posted it – it’s made for an interesting, thought-provoking exercise. Reply The Society July 19, 2021 Dear Joe T., I think you make a good point. You spurred me to do a bit of research on “inconvenient” and I did find it on a piece on the virus lab leak, but in reference to Gore’s propaganda movie as you suggested: https://www.theepochtimes.com/false-labelling-in-covid-origin-scrutiny-reminiscent-of-climate-change-debate-observers-say_3901775.html In the article scientists note the parallel between how the lab leak theory was suppressed and how the global warming narrative has been controlled. An excerpt: ***Mann’s work along with two colleagues in the late 1990s is behind the famous “hockey stick” graph that shows temperatures from the year 1000 to the 2000s, demonstrating dramatic rises in temperature starting around the industrial era. The graph was featured in Al Gore’s 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth.” The graph has been disputed in the scientific community, including in a paper co-authored by McKitrick that showed a period of warming around the 15th century that was warmer than that in recent times. The paper noted natural variations in climate over time, with scientists pointing to different factors contributing to the temperature variations. Nonetheless, Clark says Mann’s work, which to him is “patently wrong,” has been used to convince many politicians and young people that the Earth is heating up due to carbon dioxide.*** I hope someone will one day soon take back “inconvenient” and align it with truth where it belongs before the word slips into the definition “a seemingly mild word used by propagandists to undermine and belittle facts contrary to their paradigm when they know the establishment and major authorities are predominantly aligned with that paradigm.” Paul Freeman July 18, 2021 Again, thanks to everyone for your comments, and thank you Evan for making room for what has proven a bit of controversy. May there always be a green light for responsible free speech, no matter the resultant slings and arrows. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant July 18, 2021 There has always been “responsible” free speech. China, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela etc. have “responsible” free speech. It’s free speech without the modifier that’s a rare gift. I would like to thank Evan for advocating free speech. Reply C.B. Anderson July 18, 2021 All free speech is “responsible.” I am responsible for what I say, as you are. Restricted speech is only accountable to the regime in power. We’re not in Texas anymore, Toto. Susan Jarvis Bryant July 18, 2021 C.B., your point was spot on before the PC era. You will hear the term “responsible” free speech bandied about by everyone who believes “responsible” means exactly what the powers that be tell you it means. It’s the same with “social” justice. “Social” has come to mean whatever those in power say it means. We deal in “responsible” free speech in the Western world, yet people have the police arresting and imprisoning people for irresponsible hate speech on social media platforms… how is that any different to “restricted” speech? These modifiers are being used to Machiavellian ends, even in Texas. Paul Freeman July 27, 2021 Responsible means, for example, not shouting ‘Fire!’ in a packed cinema, though I’m sure I’ll be contradicted. lionel willis July 27, 2021 The threat to freedom nearly always lies in the little modifiers added to provide would-be tyrants with the legal excuses they need to sneak into control. Liberty, we are told, is earned, usually by toeing somebody elses’s line. But in art discipline becomes good because the artist defines his own. Otherwise, watch out for the bowdlerisers and censors. We are now locked in a struggle not to find harmless things to say in sonnets, but sonnets that cry for reform which the Establishment discounts because they claim sonnets are not “free”. Your work exemplifies our struggle. Coraggio! Paul Freeman July 19, 2021 The saddest thing here is that the desperate searching for, and grasping of, alternate meanings and ulterior motives to every word or phrase of my poem reads like a bad Dan Brown novel. I’ve effectively been paraded before a kangaroo court to discredit me and my reputation. I would find it hilarious if it weren’t such a sad indictment of who we purport to be at the SCP. Perhaps we can wind up now and reserve the pitchforks for another occasion. Fortunately, I am in possession of the truth of the matter. Reply Patricia Redfern July 31, 2021 Greetings, Paul… An auspicious sonnet. Last two lines, most powerful for me. Our world beset with hate, bickering and then one must follow some “omnipotentence” from our poetical peers? Appreciating each other, beats the endless harangues from all sides. I have seen this at other sites. Best to you Paul. Patricia 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.