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Poems of Conscience (for a time that needs it)

The Tao of Conscience

or wrong.
Too much or too little.
Too near or too far.
The Gift
is decision.

The ability to choose,
come to one’s own conclusions,
rather than unthinking obeisance
to authoritarian institutions.

An intrinsic ethics
structured deep into the mind
reveals the direction
in which integrity lies.

Danger follows sheep
who refuse responsibility
for action,
and wolves who see god
in their own satisfaction.

Other animals may not choose.
They must listen to instinct.
Conscience allows reasoning
which makes actions deliberate.

This power gives man
an evolutionary advantage
and the petard for his hoisting
through hubris or inaction.

“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.” – John Milton

(for Henry David Thoreau)

It is moral courage
makes the woman
or man.
physical courage
is quite common.

While he has never had
the moral courage
to take a stand against
“might makes right” itself,
the same man,
raised never to restrain himself
from resorting to force
as a first, and only, option,
still finds himself
hailed a hero
in an inversion
of moral law.

And the woman
with the courage
to live outside the confines
of the kitchen,
the bedroom
the nursery
still faces a lingering
label of perversion,
seen as usurping
man’s rightful place
at the apex
of the pyramid
of oppression.

Woman or man,
to take a stand
outside the boundaries,
to color outside the lines
of the stick figure confines
of the rigid roles prescribed
for male and female inmates
of capitalist culture’s
insane asylum
runs the risk of committing
cultural suicide.

Girly men.
Real men don’t cry,
have hearts or any emotions,
while real women
have been defined
by only those
obvious displays
of devotion.

is the individual
who dares to live as an outlaw
outside the ordinary
where character insists
on the courage
to be

“It is curious – curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.” – Mark Twain

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