Cruelty, Thou Art Life

Is there a beauty in insipidity,
blending in to all around? Stupidity
amassed beyond the pale,
in group-think, mass-appeal.
Invisibility, thou art cruel
spiteful invalidity.
Tread instead through morbidity
following ancient ways
as Plato did with Socrates.
Follow deeper still
with final sip,

Mish is hosting Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today she asks us to include the word “sip” within our exactly 44 word poem, sans title. For some reason, I went to the dark side with this one: “insipidity” and “sip.” Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!

46 thoughts on “Cruelty, Thou Art Life

    • lillian February 25, 2019 / 3:29 pm

      Thank you for the kind words!


  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) February 25, 2019 / 2:50 pm

    Oh… the hemlock release… it’s a scary thought having to follow in the path of Socrates… the word of his doom was impiety I saw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian February 25, 2019 / 3:30 pm

      ah yes….the path, the spiral, to the hemlock.


  2. kim881 February 25, 2019 / 3:06 pm

    Ohm, that final sip and hemlock release. I like this walk on the dark side, Lill!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian February 25, 2019 / 4:45 pm

      Yes. Apologies, Sarah. This was one that when I finished reading, I literally thought where did that come from?
      I do think some people live their hell on earth and spiral down and down. The depths of despair are disturbing. So very very difficult.


  3. erbiage February 25, 2019 / 4:00 pm

    lillian, i feel like there’s something in this that’s just beyond my grasp. as if there’s a rhyme or alliteration i just can’t quite make out… i was going to ask you if this is finished. Or suggest leaving out ‘hemlock’ as too gratuitious. But i think this is merely my reaction to it, and it’s perfect just as it is.

    you’ve moved me. thank you.


    • lillian February 25, 2019 / 4:51 pm

      The hemlock is the ultimate reaction to the pain of this person’s life of invisibility – value deemed invalid. Insipidity means without distinction – here not seen by anyone as an individual – the beauty in hiding within anonymity – but the other side of that is the cruelty of no seemingly having no value.
      As I said – have no idea where this came from .. just flowed as stream of conscience writing – confused life.


  4. sanaarizvi February 25, 2019 / 4:22 pm

    A powerful closing on this dark and chilling write, Lillian!


    • lillian February 25, 2019 / 4:52 pm

      Thank you. A dark writing indeed.


      • Jane Dougherty March 7, 2019 / 2:41 pm

        Yes, I imagine he wasn’t given a choice. Whether he actually thought he was ready to go is something I don’t suppose we’ll ever know.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. rothpoetry February 25, 2019 / 4:40 pm

    I loved your new use of the word sip! We become what we sip on… could even be deadly!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 7, 2019 / 1:41 pm

      Some days I do slip into a dark suit rather than my coat of many colors! 🙂


  6. msjadeli February 25, 2019 / 4:50 pm

    There is a beauty in pattern — but will it fly? I like the depth of your poem. Important questions…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Glenn Buttkus February 25, 2019 / 4:55 pm

    Did you have mustard on your bagel this morning? This piece embraces darkness, quite abrasive, yet it works perfect, as I search for the second metaphorical layer. Hey, I’m not ready for that final sip quite yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 7, 2019 / 1:43 pm

      LATE to the reading…..taking care of grandkids again this week….
      Nope — I’m not ready for that final sip either! Mustard on my bagel? Hah! More like onions that made the pen cry! 🙂


  8. Mary (tqhousecat) February 25, 2019 / 4:57 pm

    I love the word play. I do not engage in mass appeal! I try to avoid stupidity. I won’t drink the hemlock!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 7, 2019 / 1:43 pm

      Trust me – I won’t drink it either!


  9. Grace February 25, 2019 / 6:04 pm

    A dark and chilly ending with the final sip and hemlock release.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 7, 2019 / 1:44 pm

      Some days I think I have too much coffee before I have my toast and the mind flits over to the dark side! For today’s OLN, A Stellar Tale, I was definitely on a bit of a sugar high with thick jam on my toast! 🙂


    • lillian March 7, 2019 / 1:45 pm

      Thank you, Beverly. Glad you enjoyed!


  10. Maggie C February 25, 2019 / 6:52 pm

    “Stupidity amassed beyond the pale,” Makes me think of certain politicians.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mish February 25, 2019 / 6:53 pm

    Dark indeed. Sipping turned deadly in the end. I think being invisible would take it’s toll, like a slow death.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 7, 2019 / 1:46 pm

      Exactly, Mish. That is what happens here. I rarely go to the dark side but for some reason….this one did.


  12. qbit February 25, 2019 / 7:50 pm

    Great twist of in-sip. Squeezed some hemlock out of it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian March 7, 2019 / 1:48 pm

      Some days the dark side sneaks into my psyche….odd for me to look down and see what the pen has writ in times like that. I am definitely a Sound of Music kind of gal! 🙂


  13. Linda Kruschke February 25, 2019 / 11:00 pm

    Definitely darker than I expect from you, but well penned. I like the internal rhyming.


  14. Frank Hubeny February 26, 2019 / 9:45 am

    Nice lines: “Invisibility, thou art cruel
    spiteful invalidity.”


  15. katiemiafrederick February 26, 2019 / 2:32 pm

    Ah Yes.. mY Friend Lillian the Hemlock of Sipping
    Taste Testing So Many Potentials Never Drinking
    What Comes Deeply Bottom of Chalice Breathes
    For ‘God’ Sends Michelangelo
    Back to Repaint the Sistine
    Chapel IN A Different
    Way Left Standing
    At the Train
    No Harry
    Potter Magic
    Art When Candy
    Crushes All Dreams
    oF ORiginal Creativity
    ‘He’ Never Even Got to
    Complain About Doing
    The Same Old Dammed Thing..:)


  16. LeeSoyer March 2, 2019 / 3:04 pm

    We all can see it in a flower
    and sense it in a smile
    life is beautiful, is not gray,
    sometimes it can be cruel
    and put us in trial
    sometimes invite us to play.

    A ruthless teacher I must say
    no doubt about its ways
    find how to beat this maze
    and never forget this phrase
    “Give your best fighting everyday,
    seeing the results you’ll be amazed”


  17. Victoria C. Slotto March 2, 2019 / 3:41 pm

    For me, the message seems so relevant in this day of so much extremism on every level. The final two lines: killer!


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