Hour 7: Outside In

Yuletide greetings in August,
The sky turning black in the middle of the day,
A world of selfishness
balanced by gentle moments of compassion.

Knowing what would come, 
Would Emily Dickinson have followed 
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with girlish glee?
Could she have sought the spectacles of P.T. Barnum while
Mocking a tall president with the top hat?

Were he to see love turned into mockery,
Would e.e. cummings have turned to accounting
For linear reasoning and resolute answers?
Would he have cynically chosen the safety of 
Home rather than valiant heroism as a war volunteer, 
Forever misrepresenting those who went in his place?

Had Maya Angelou known the struggles would continue
Years upon years after her civil rights work, 
Would she still have cast herself as a bird longing to sing?
Might she have stayed a quiet girl in the Missouri shadows,
Fading and dessicating in the dusty town before being swept into the river?

Juan Felipe Herrera and Tracy K. Smith? Who would they be
Were it not for the poets before them?
Would they have had the bravery to break the rules of social expectations?
Could they have expressed, gathered, communed, and inspired
Had voices, pens, and lives been dismally set aside, ignored, and wasted?

A poem turned inside out: 
The message of the poet inverted.
More meaningful if we read them both
Worthless if left alone, vulnerable, and neglected.

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