No Fixed Intent

i)  New Hope

Unless you are a genius, it is best to aim at being intelligible.   –  Anthony Hope

Unless I’m very much mistaken,
you tend to quit whenever things
are getting tough. But chaos brings
a chance for every god-forsaken
genius to find a killer move;
it offers space to rescue what
is most divine, to see what’s not
best suited for the present groove,
to sidestep all the dross. This time
aim high! Don’t worry if you fail
at what you’ve gone for. Simply through
being aware, you’ll make your tale
intelligible. Here’s to you.
And to new Hope that leads to rhyme.

ii)  The Secret to Joy

The growth of wisdom may be gauged exactly by the diminution of ill temper.   –  Nietzsche

The secret to joy is a lack of intent.
Growth tends to happen without any warning.
Of that I’m quite certain. Cocooned in the morning,
wisdom comes easy. A later event
may spark disillusionment. Maybe you’re fired.
Be ready for anything. What have we guessed,
gauged, or imagined, that, put to the test,
exactly matched up with what actually transpired?
By my calculations the exits we took,
the flights we attempted, have all led to this
diminution. We never lived up to the measure
of what we aspired to: distinction and bliss.
Ill winds have conspired to effect their erasure,
temper their glory, or bring them to book.

iii)  Encoder/Decoder

He gave so many people who felt “other” to the establishment permission to speak.  –  Suzanne Moore on Stuart Hall

He saw past today. All his hopes for tomorrow
gave him the knowledge he wasn’t alone.
So, now to engrave his achievement in stone.
Many ambitions are rooted in sorrow.
People are scared to stand up and be counted.
Who needs all that hassle? But this man of peace
felt compelled to conduct a campaign to release
other poor souls from the myth they amounted
to little. Exposing through erudite text
the power of white propaganda, he shattered
establishment apathy. Nobody needed
permission to climb on his wagon: what mattered
to Stuart was listening to those who succeeded
speak about what, they thought, should be done next.

iv)  Respect

They say it is not who you are that makes the world respect you, but what power it is that stands behind you.  –  Ben Okri

They teach you class, then dumb things down;
say education matters, but
it doesn’t mean you’ll make the cut.
Is our day’s yardstick mere renown,
not enterprise and leadership?
Who needs cheap fame? If no one knows
you, that’s a blessing. TV shows
are adverts for an ego-trip,
that with its smug, facetious grin
makes fools of one and all. The lover,
the jack of hearts, must rise above a
world that’s slow to let him win
respect. Alone and undercover,
you might find something genuine.

Duncan Gillies MacLaurin

If you have any comments on this poem,  Duncan Gillies MacLaurin would be pleased to hear from you.