Sunday, November 07, 2010

Irritation, Agitation, Torment, and Torture

author’s note:

I was hesitant to use the word "torture" in the title of this poem.

I didn't want to use it just for the sake of alliteration--just to be cute.

But I finally decided that I'm using the word in an honest way.  I use it with the awareness that there are different degrees as well as different types of torture.


I don't know about the other birds

but I was born
with this ambition:
to sing a song of the folk
that would draw upon
all the strings and horns
of the world--a song

that would answer
all the drum beats
of every age and place--

a song that would weave
through the generations

the songwriter would simply be known
as “Anonymous”--

the song as much a part of us
as every breath and every step.

So I began to sing
and though the sound
came out tinny and weak
I believed my sincerity
would amplify to a symphony
when broadcast through the mountain range--

but those mountains can see you coming
from a thousand miles away--
can see you haven't yet earned
their high altitude--

but no delusional bird ever stopped singing
just because the mountains laughed at its puniness--

so I kept warbling--
even when what bubbled up from me
popped under the slightest air pressure--
I kept on trying

to satisfy my crazy desire--
      trying until the irritation
      became an agitation
      became a torment, a torture--
I kept on

because I could hear how my frustration
worked to slowly strengthen my sound--

so I still have hope
that those mountains may eventually allow me in--
may eventually answer my hunger
with a magnificent booming chorus.

And though the mountains
still stare in bored judgment
upon me...

angels, having lived among us, have lost
such high standards and thus
when an angel hears
a poor bird like me sing
that angel still hears god.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton
hear my puny voice

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