In days of plenty, when they pass the plate,
assorted fives and twenties fall, and these
can help, but donors shoulder little weight
of suffering from hunger or disease.
In seasons when the world is steeped in woes
and inequality exacts its due
with repetitious cataclysmic blows,
the needs of many overwhelm the few.
But that’s when public spirit kicks in gear
among the open-hearted; those who spring
into the void, rejecting the veneer
of halo’s glow — true colors taking wing.
Compassion is the radiating face
of membership within the human race.
Mary Boren, 2017
This was my part of a collaboration with my friend Bill Keller, in which we were challenged to take opposing sides of an issue but write as one voice. We decided on altruism, and he graciously took the con side with a reverse Shakespearean sonnet in response. Our joint effort, entitled “Give and Take”, won second place in the contest.
Photo Source Unknown
(CNS photo/Sedat/Suna, EPA)
In the face of human need,
may our voices be projected.
Kindness shown in word and deed
never leaves us unaffected.
Whether given or received,
fellow feeling fills the spaces
hollowed by the woes perceived
in the faces.
Mary Boren, 2016
The valley of their recent discontent
was rife with misperception, doubt and blame.
They never seemed to trust the true intent
in one another. Days were all the same.
Each argument produced a bitter crop
of grievances for one divided whole,
a couple longing for the mountaintop
together, but without a common goal.
But then he tripped and banged the water pail
against his head so hard it made her sick.
Compassion rose within her like a gale
of cleansing air. Disaster did the trick.
So, climbing hand in hand, they claimed their hill
where happiness now reigns for Jack and Jill.
Mary Boren, 2016
The source of the photo is a mystery. If known to be in violation of copyright, please advise.
You expound, justifiably proud,
having read every book on the shelf.
I’m convinced: You are clearly endowed
with an intellect. (Unlike myself.)
You have pondered the id, and the odd
knotty questions of life. You emit
solid confidence, coolness, unflawed
dialectics, unflappable wit.
There’s a long string of letters to show
you’re a scholar with knowledge to share …
but don’t ask me to care what you know
’til I know you can show that you care.
Mary Boren, 2002