Forward/Backward: Message Still Resonates

There is good in the world,
I remind myself
collecting my thoughts.
In morgues across this country
body bags, small and large.
In churches and theaters,
in schools and grocery stores,
automatic military assault weapons kill.
To concentrate on the good,
sometimes difficult.
Scattered thoughts.

Scattered thoughts.
Sometimes difficult
to concentrate on the good.
Automatic military assault weapons kill
in schools and grocery stores,
in churches and theaters.
Body bags, small and large,
in morgues across this country.
Collecting my thoughts
I remind myself,
there is good in the world.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Laura asks us to consider “cleaving to antonyms”. One method she suggests is to write a Reverso poem: same words read backwards and forwards, making poetic sense. She also asks us to choose a pair of antonyms from a list she provides, to include in our poem(s). I chose scatter and collect.

Today, in 2023, politicians and the NRA use the 2nd amendment, ratified in 1791, to justify private citizens owning military assault weapons. Do you think our founding fathers could even fathom the power of an AK 47? Or want Mr. Joe Blow living in the cabin down the lane to own one? And Mr. Smith, three cabins away? And Mr. Jones, across the lily pad pond?

In the Newtown slaying at Sandy Hook Elementary School, twenty children were slaughtered in a matter of minutes. Bodies were so obliterated, in some cases shoes were used for early identification. Three nine-year olds were recently killed in Nashville. The state legislature in Tennessee will vote today to expel three Democrat representatives because they joined more than one thousand of their constituents, the people who elected them, on the statehouse grounds in a demonstration for gun control.

Yes, somedays, it’s hard to concentrate on the good. And there is a lot of it. But some days, with 24/7 news, it’s difficult. Politicians are concerned about taking race out of books about Rosa Parks; banning books in schools and in town libraries; forbidding girls in schools (or anyone in schools) to talk about menstruation/periods until sixth grade; want to deny children, until they are eighteen, any kind of counseling or medical help for gender issues; remove gender studies as a major in colleges and universities; outlaw drag shows; deny women any rights to their reproductive health including in some states, denial of abortions under any circumstances or, in the news yesterday, after six weeks of pregnancy.

And we have mass shootings every week it seems.

So there you have it: a message read forwards or backwards. Anyway you look at it, it gets more and more difficult these days to concentrate on the good.

Apologies for the rant todaydear Glenn would understand. I miss him.

22 thoughts on “Forward/Backward: Message Still Resonates

    • lillian April 6, 2023 / 3:46 pm

      Wish our politicians who offer “thoughts and prayers” did.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. kim881 April 6, 2023 / 3:24 pm

    Great minds and all that… We both chose collect/scatter and the reverse form! The content of your poem, on the other hand, is so sad; the image of the ‘body bags, small and large’ made me shudder with anger and sorrow. I cannot understand why guns are so common in the US, where there are more mass shootings than anywhere else in the world. I do not know anyone with a gun of any sort, and I do not wish to. Your poem puts the problem into perspective, Lill.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 6, 2023 / 3:40 pm

      It’s meant to make people shudder.
      Sadly, I can understand why guns are so common in the U.S.; because there are individuals who believe the second amendment, RATIFIED IN 1791, gives them the RIGHT to own any kind of weapon they want…hence the NRA lobbyists, the gun sellers, the people who won’t give an inch on sane gun control laws that could save countless lives. They say, “It’s the people; not the guns.” Yet they won’t even vote for better safety checks in terms of who is allowed to buy a gun! UGH….I could go on and on and on.
      It’s the same sick logic that went into the state of Wisconsin, after Roe vs Wade was overturned, going back to their anti-abortion law enacted in 1849 that says it’s a felony to perform an abortion at any stage of pregnancy unless it’s done to save a pregant person’s life. Women didn’t even have the right to vote in 1849!!!
      Okay…collect my thoughts and think of good things. Yes, my friend…we were on the same wave length in terms of choosing our antonym words. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 6, 2023 / 3:40 pm

      Thanks, Laura. The Reverso is certainly a challenging form! 🙂


  2. msjadeli April 6, 2023 / 3:30 pm

    Such powerful, poignant poeming, Lillian. How many more before the madness ends? 😦


    • lillian April 6, 2023 / 3:44 pm

      Sadly, I think if Newtown’s 20 children, (sixteen 6 year olds and four 7 year olds) didn’t make politicians do more than offer their “thoughts and prayers”, nothing will.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. merrildsmith April 6, 2023 / 3:56 pm

    Totally agree, Lillian. I think more and more people need to hear these messages.
    At least there was some good news in Wisconsin and Michigan.


    • lillian April 6, 2023 / 9:23 pm

      Two steps forward (Wisconsin and Michigan) and a giant step backwards: Tenessee legislators voted to expel the 2 black representatives who peacefully demonstrated against gun violence and voted to keep the 1 white representative who peacefully demonstrated by their sides.

      Liked by 1 person

      • merrildsmith April 7, 2023 / 7:42 am

        Yes, true. And I suspect those TN GOP members thought MGT and gang’s outburst during the State of the Union address were fine.
        I hope something comes of the new revelations about Clarence Thomas.


  4. rothpoetry April 6, 2023 / 9:22 pm

    A sad but excellent poem, Lillian. It is so sad to see someone getting shot every day on the news. It is the same here in Charlotte.


    • lillian April 6, 2023 / 9:27 pm

      Yes. Incredibly sad and infuriating – justifying their inaction with an amendment written in 1791. And even more infuriating and disgusting: Tenessee Republicans voted to expel the two black legislators who peacefully demonstrated, with thousands of their constituents, against gun violence BUT voted NOT to expel the one white legislator who demonstated at their side.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rothpoetry April 6, 2023 / 9:36 pm

        We live in a very dysfunctional society!


  5. pvcann April 6, 2023 / 10:24 pm

    Down here in Australia we try not to judge, but your gun laws are crazy in our view. totally agree, such awful grief and sadness now a daily event.


  6. paul scribbles April 7, 2023 / 5:31 am

    Hi Lillian. Been a while huh? Good to read you once more. A powerful piece and a great example of how poets can and should make a noise, wether we feel heard in all the right places or not. Great use of the form and the Antonyms. Bravo.


  7. M Jay Dixit April 7, 2023 / 8:14 am

    A perfect reverso poem, the topic is very serious and your poem delivers the message clearly with a blow.


  8. Mish April 10, 2023 / 3:36 pm

    Many resonate your words and yes, in the spirit of Glenn Buttkes, we as poets must rant on! This is so powerful, Lil.


  9. James Mose April 21, 2023 / 10:50 pm

    There’s still good in this world. Just pressed in the dark corner


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