This challenge comes from New York poet Joe Tessitore. He asks you to use the following couplet in a poem. Post your version in the comments section below:


How very much do I despise
The tyranny of fear and lies?





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42 Responses

  1. Bill

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies?
    That forces us to compromise
    Our soul, our minds, our eyes

    Yet take heed from the clouds comes sun
    From tattered soil a vine is spun
    Snatched from defeat, victory won
    From a mother’s womb a beautiful son

  2. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    How Very Much…

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies –
    The baiting, grating grind of hate;
    The jarring, sparring, slating spate
    Of venom spewed to demonize?

    I ache for cruelty’s swift demise;
    Oh how I fret and agonize
    Over our unearthly state –
    How very much.

    The day will come to exorcise
    The demons keen to terrorize.
    Each fiend will meet the foulest fate.
    I hear the creak of heaven’s gate.
    Oh how I long for love’s sky-highs –
    How very much.

    Above It All

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies
    From bullies born to brutalize –
    Those selfish souls in virtue’s guise
    Who daunt the heart and haunt the eyes
    And turn their backs on helpless cries?

    My heart is crushed. My hope is slim.
    I’m minus verve. I’ve lost my vim.
    The sun’s gone out. The stars are dim.
    Tomorrow’s looking reaper-grim.
    I long to tear brutes limb from limb…
    Instead I kneel and pray to Him.

  3. Mike Bryant

    I’m blaming Exxon, blaming Shell
    But I am BUYING oil as well.
    I drive my car and use my phone,
    From these sins I shall not atone.
    How very much I do despise
    Hypocrisy, stoked fear and lies!

  4. James A. Tweedie

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies
    That spins reality and tries
    To pull the wool over my eyes
    Attempting to deceive me.

    When wolves pretend they’re sheep-allies
    And try to catch me by surprise
    By twisting words so I’ll surmise
    That lies are truth and truth are lies
    Such things do sore aggrieve me.

    When every apparatchik cries
    That Uncle Sam and apple pies
    And every Stars and Stripes that flies
    Are racist symbols in disguise;
    I won’t be fooled, believe me.

    When CCP and Facebook spies
    And mainstream media devise
    A plan for me to compromise
    My faith and conscience to be “wise,”
    I wish that they would leave me.

    So as I cross this Bridge of Sighs
    And though they threaten, terrorize
    And censor when I criticize
    I’ll keep my eyes fixed on the prize
    Till tyranny meets its demise
    And freedom, liberty arise
    To rescue and relieve me.

  5. Paul Freeman

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies?
    The answer is to trust your eyes
    and common sense, not theorise
    and make up stuff to get a rise
    and earn that fifteen-minute’s prize.

  6. D.G. Rowe

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies.
    The puke, the piss, the stench of it,
    The false pretence of their remit.

    The ease of which they make their din
    With smiles wrought of porcelain.
    The puke, the piss, the stench of it,
    The witless fools that fall for it.

  7. Sally Cook

    We once were proud and adamant
    And made mistakes. I do admit
    To that, but still we had our drive,
    Our pride and courage kept us live

    And lithe; on course. It’s all we had
    Our lives were sparse, but we were glad
    To live in blessed harmony,
    For most part happy. We could see
    Some better ways, and took to them
    Beneath our country’s diadem.

    Then one by one our freedoms fell
    That crack within the Liberty Bell
    Foretold this time, when no one knows
    Where poison oak or red rose grows

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies?

    • Martin Rizley

      Very poignant reflection contrasting times past with times present. I had never thought of the crack in the liberty bell as “prophetic” of trouble ahead due to internal weaknesses in the “metal” of our national life. I find it providentially fascinating that a bell associated with our nation’s founding and named “Liberty” would have a crack in it– a testimony to the fragile nature of freedom in this fallen world, especially political freedom forged from the metal alloy known as “e pluribus unum.”

  8. Alex S.

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies?
    For if the king doth have no spize
    I say unto him, you are my prize.

    The people of far and yonder,
    mustn’t have to walk and wander,
    For if the king doth tell no lies,
    I speak unto you, he is our prize.

    Though such a man is not alive,
    The man that stands there is a lie.
    He will not sing a lullaby,
    He says he will not let his people die.

    I wish our king was not a die
    That rolled and rolled and made me cry,
    I wish our king was but a god,
    A king that lifted all this fog.

  9. Rohini

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies,
    A carapace of news that’s fake
    Now shrouds the truth make no mistake
    That it’s the law, you realise
    That’s swathed in words that seem so wise.

    The many pundits, they advise
    We check and countercheck the cries,
    We research data, check the facts
    See where pixels mix don’t match.
    But it’s so hard to analyse
    Give up! Give in to fear and lies.

    Life’s so much easier on the eyes
    With false eyelashes, wigs, and dyes
    Why bother with the truth, a blend
    Of fact and fiction serves the end.
    It’s then that you will realise
    There’s naught to fear in all the lies.

  10. Martin Rizley

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies;
    For lies, like slithering snakes can wind
    Around men´s thoughts and choke the mind.

    Like deadly vipers, lies can sink
    Their fangs in brains that used to think,
    And by their poison paralyze
    The wits of those who once were wise.

    Lies cast a blinding pall of smoke
    On sleeping souls who think they´re “woke,”
    Who, filled with fierce fanatic zeal,
    Mistake mere hype for what is real.

    But just as bad, if truth be told,
    Are fears that in their firm grasp hold
    Once valiant souls like iron chains;
    For fear, from brave hearts, courage drains.

    Fear mows men down like withering blades
    Of grass, and makes them pale shades,
    Mere echoes of their former selves,
    Discarded shoes on dusty shelves.

    For all whose hearts to fear are wed
    Turn into zombies, pale, undead,
    Who´ve lost all vigor, vim and fight
    As victims to fear´s vampire bite.

    That vicious bite turns him who´s bitten
    From lion into craven kitten.
    A ghost too spooked to scare a mouse,
    Who can´t say “boo” or haunt a house.

    Now fear is falsehood´s thuggish twin,
    Who helps his clever sibling win
    Dominion over people´s lives,
    By treating them like battered wives.

    Thus, fear and falsehood help each other
    To stay on top of those they smother;
    By threats and fraud and many a ruse,
    They hold men hostage to abuse.
    How sad to see men grow so dense
    When lies and fear kill common sense;
    To fight these tyrants, here´s the key–
    From fear and lies, the truth sets free!

  11. Robert James Liguori

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies?
    The same as which I do loathe,
    A system that disrespects love and hope.

    It’s what is under the hood ,
    That is no good;
    Secret societies
    Of fears and lies.

    Though what’s in the air,
    Needs no repair…
    Let us fix a system that is broke,
    For this love and hope.

  12. David Watt

    Best Intentions

    How very much I do despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies
    That from the mouths of zealots rise.

    The experts have no bona fides
    And skin as thick as hippo hides,
    Yet still they act as expert guides
    Of mask and jab, much more besides.

    Let’s face the fact that man should be
    As God intended; wise and free,
    Not cowed in fear, made blind to see,
    And silenced should they disagree.

  13. Joe Tessitore

    What an incredible group of writers this is, and what an honor it is to be one of you.

    • Patricia Redfern

      Joe, your humility is more than refreshing!
      It’s a tsunami of poetic humility.
      Thank you.

  14. Jack DesBois

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies?
    The dove will tell you with her sighs,
    And wise old raven with his cries–
    So heed, before the croaking dies.

  15. Alexander Ream

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies?
    The south end of a flying rat,
    From eating jalapenos (fat),
    He had granola for dessert;
    Beneath him! illustrates the hurt,
    That brings my anger and my pain,
    Which culminates in my disdain.

  16. Carol C.

    Loss of liberty
    is not blatantly monumental.
    Ease the patriot’s pain.
    Just make it incremental.

    Little doses of deception
    are much easier to sup
    daintily disguised dictatorship
    in a China communist cup.

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies!

  17. Toshiji Kawagoe

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies,
    Because the Lord abides with me
    In case when earthly comforts flee.

    I’ll follow your example too,
    My Lord, until their plots fall through.
    Though I have to walk through the pain,
    I patiently long for your reign.

    • Toshiji Kawagoe

      Dear Patricia,
      Thank you for your comment!
      I’m very glad to know that we could share our christian hope each other through my little poem. “Let light shine out of darkness” (2 Cor. 4:6), I believe that our God continuously tell us so when we walk in the darkness.

  18. matthew

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies?
    forced to look through blind mens eyes
    asked find hope in a hay stack
    my brothers knife still in my back
    to let you feed me lies, jaw a slack
    took my soul yet call me free
    take my labor and murder me
    rather dead, then sans liberty

  19. Mia

    This has got to be better than the first attempt,

    How much I do despise the tyranny of fear and lies

    Is human life virtual? Now that is the question.
    Some so-called experts think so, but
    Whatever virtual means, I am not certain.

    The definition of virtual is to exist in the mind
    In essence but not in fact, or to be programmed.
    Is human life virtual? That is the question.

    But virtual is a tricky concept to understand
    Since we are made of flesh and blood; so
    Whatever virtual means, I am not certain.

    Moreover is the true nature of the universe
    Beyond human comprehension and perception;
    Is human life virtual? That is the question.

    Is human reality created by someone
    To keep us enslaved? But for what purpose?
    Whatever virtual means, I am not certain.

    Some speculate that we choose the programme
    Even tyranny and strife. Do I despise fear and lies?
    Is human life virtual? That is the question, although
    Whatever virtual means I am not certain.

    • Mia

      Some how sent this on its own too-
      seems that to submit or not has
      a mind of its own!

  20. Mia

    Two Haiku

    to submit or not,
    tyranny of fear and lies,
    skating on thin ice.

    delicate snowflakes glide
    blanketing the world with ice,
    stalagmites stand tall

  21. Ravi Choks

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies
    Yet I do fall under its guise
    And tbose times my soul e’er slow dies

    • Mia

      I really like this. I love your couplet
      it works perfectly with the one given,
      result, a short poem with a big impact.

  22. Allison Asbury Baggott-Rowe

    Thoughts Aloud

    To think I thought, “I know you well,”
    Only to think I might yet, still,
    Have the time to learn what I missed,
    Your eyes wide open when we kiss,
    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies?

    I dreamed I saw you, naked, bare,
    A lone figure leaning just there,
    Arms wound round to shield dainty breasts,
    What’s mine is yours, but t’was a test,
    How do you cope when this person dies
    Peeling faded layers of his disguise?

    I flake away what is not real,
    Chip marble shavings to reveal,
    Who I am, have been, underneath,
    Though I planned not to show you anything,
    How can you say you are surprised
    When I shed my mask of alibis?

    We agreed to keep it casual,
    Then you happened, oh so gradual,
    Take my name or just my sock drawer,
    You own this house and so much more,
    How mad will you be that I broke,
    That this burning fire is not just smoke?

    Let me love you how I want to,
    Hoist your waist high and hold onto,
    All you are, and will never be,
    Continuing as “you and me,”
    How do you watch us without seeing
    When you changed it all just by being?

  23. Daniel Haghighi

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies?
    Sadly, in truth “I do not care”
    About a child’s whimpered cries

    To be honest and very fair
    It’s not my problem, their despair
    I only came to look the part,
    First Lady perched atop jet stair

    I wasn’t like this at the start
    Better or worse, I did my part
    Married power and married might
    But now I’m stuck with that old fart

    So here I am, never contrite
    You marvel at my awesome height
    I get to live in house of White
    I get to live in house of White

  24. Karlene Ghadianloo

    The tyranny of fear and lies
    Glows strong in “President” biden’s beady, shady eyes!!

    WHO wins a job, hiding in their basement, while allies scheme
    Skulks out when ordered and lies, promising a “better” American dream!

    Voters never mattered- China machines and corrupt electoral twits and more
    Stopped the count-seeing another hillary slaughter like the election before

    If they pulled it off once- trust me they are scheming again
    Wake up America or you’ll vote in Tyranny and lies biden to win

    The colors of America, are NOT black and white-
    They are red, white and blue
    I voted the last time- for the Right
    I suggest you do too…

    Or, when the darkness covers America’s skies
    You’ll be looking into the face of Tyranny and lies!

    And just to be clear… as you have seen-
    Tyranny doesn’t just lie-they do it with a smile and are effing MEAN!

  25. JLA Jennifer L Alukonis

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies?
    Bedroom eyes
    Beneath my thighs
    Leaves me fearfully guessing even the wisest guy
    He hides his lies
    The tyranny of fear and lies
    I so despise

  26. ray

    How very much do I despise
    the tyranny of herein lies,
    for who knows who may be in there?
    Perhaps it may be even bare
    of aught but emptiness inside
    as all was lost on Styx’s tide?
    Or even just one bone alone,
    (so prone to be from the unknown),
    which well may not be bona fide
    if someone callous all elide
    and failed to tell us all he lied
    about the pride of one who died?
    Or just a plaster boney clone?
    (Or even worse a coney blown),
    which would, one surely must surmise
    be very hard to recognise
    and impinge on the field of doubt
    if one herein, put in, got out
    and went upon their merry way
    thus leaving me be Mused today.

  27. ray

    How very much do I despise
    the Tyranny of fear and lies
    that aliens inside devise
    to hide subvert and demonise
    our tribal laws, erase mores
    to cause divide as law decays.
    To isolate so souls alone
    can then be cowed to then condone,
    so people’s tribes refuse to fight
    reduction to the catamite,
    to then destroy the female role
    and kill the very tribal soul.
    We must discern to learn the guile
    of evil cesspit hebephiles.

  28. ray

    How wary must two eyes devise
    the villainy of beer and pies.
    The smash of glass, the raucous shout,
    a warning roar of louts about.
    The thumping feet, the violent bang,
    the sirens shrieking at the gang,
    the shouts and shrieks now so obscene
    as they then try to flee the scene.

    The cause of all this vile discourse?
    False courage from tomato sauce.

    Undoubtedly tomato sauce
    which turns the fine into the coarse
    and makes our peaceful folk resent
    the aftermath of sports events.
    Which adds a gloss unto the dross,
    and will emboss a total loss.
    That horrid brutish condiment
    that will divorce the best intent.
    That all sports innocents dements.
    Will unadvise unwise dissents.

    We must be prepared to source
    a label for tomato sauce,
    to save our babes from new remorse
    and wasteful chores for our law force.

  29. Mary Gardner

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies?
    Not much; I’ve gotten used to it,
    This Soviet-style life surfeit.

    I just don’t buy the Party line
    So I, too, lie, and it’s all fine.
    To tyrants of falsehood and fear
    I tell the things they want to hear.

    They warned that I had to espouse
    Their falsehoods or they’d burn my house,
    They’d poison Max, my wealth preempt,
    Protract a lawsuit for contempt
    Because wrongthink’s a major crime,
    But that’s how things are in our time.

    • Mary Gardner

      Sheesh, that was amateurish. Maybe this one’s a little better:

      How very much do I despise
      The tyranny of fear and lies?

      To despots of falsehood and fear
      I say what they demand to hear,
      I parrot back the Party line.
      I hate it, but I have no spine.

      Despairing if I don’t espouse
      Their falsehoods, they will take my house,
      Imperil job, or wealth preempt,
      Protract a lawsuit for contempt.

      Oh, would I’d illustrate the courage
      To stand up to dogmatic scourge!
      So very much do I despise
      The tyranny of fear and lies!

  30. Tom Sheppard

    How very much do I despise
    The tyranny of fear and lies?
    Not much, when I again surmise
    The father of them finally dies

    The place is hot where satan goes
    A chasm keeps the lies with those
    Away from us who get to stay
    In heaven where the Truth holds sway


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