To Rhyme or not to Rhyme

Dad and I were driving across the Arkansas delta yesterday, seemingly endless miles of rice and soybean fields stretching to the mighty Mississippi to the east. As usual, dad was scanning the stations looking for something “different” when we happened upon a public radio station announcing that due to a guest cancellation, they would be featuring an hour of poetry.

Poetry? Hello! Most of the time, we like a good rhyme, so we set the cruise and settled in.

Evidently, we have a different view of what the word “poetry” means. To our credit, we stuck with it, thinking it HAD to eventually get better, until the station faded into a cloud of distant static. Incidentally, I think the static was actually more uplifting.

I’m not a literary dog, but I thought that poetry was supposed to have a reason to separate it from just a bunch of words strung together without any apparent rhythm, syntax, or (gasp) words that occasionally rhyme?

A more vitriolic, hate-filled, divisive mess I have never heard, left against right, this color versus that color, gender against gender, and the thought occurred to me: what would Maya Angelou think? Or Walt Whitman? Or James Baldwin? Or any other of the titans of their craft that used their gift to enlighten and elevate, not divide and conquer?

So as the highway thrummed beneath the wheels as dad piloted the old Subaru across the muddy Mississippi, I decided to to scratch out my weak response;

We be of one blood, ye and I.

The media is filled each day
Of those who would thrive on strife
I say “why curse the darkness,
When we can light a light?”

No, life is not a Hallmark card
Sometimes troubles come hard and fast
But if our diet consists of the negative
We are what we eat, just trash

Have these that would divide us
experienced nothing precious in life?
To continuously find joy in spewing such hatred
Is a sickness, it’s prevalence rife.

It is said that a house divided
Against itself surely will fail
They who anger us ultimately control us
Only we can their efforts derail

So arise and unplug, and have a big mug
Of high octane coffee and go
forth and Chark Diem, way out on a limb
Find a reason to break status quo

We’re all on this great trip together
And we’re all along for the ride
So move over, dad, there’s fun to be had
it’s time for the Charlie to drive!

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