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Who will you listen to
in the times of the great despair?
Will you strain to harmonize
with all that you deplore

in the times of the great despair
or eulogize what’s dead and gone?
With all that you deplore
surrounding you, why believe in better

or eulogize what’s dead and gone
while there is yet tomorrow
surrounding you? Why believe in better
when bearers of bad news assemble?

While there is yet tomorrow
will you starve your soul to live among them
when bearers of bad news assemble
or dare to walk, hand in hand, with hope?

Will you starve your soul to live among them?
Will you strain to harmonize
or dare to walk, hand in hand, with hope?
Who will you listen to?

~~~

The repeating lines of the pantoum, a Malayan fixed verse, are a fun way to explore—or maybe, exorcise—our circular, obsessive nature of thinking. I love discovering that a two or three word phrase, when placed in different contexts, can take on a completely different meaning. Perhaps the same holds true with the company we choose to keep.

© Elaine Stirling, 2016

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