There are poets who like
To dance with words
But dancing for an audience
Isn’t like moving to the
Music on your own
Stirring the notes of the soul

Fame kills
Billie Holiday’s ghost attests
To this
Money pigeonholes
Power corrupts
The spiritual truth
The scriptures tell us this

The true poet knows this
Stands tall above the
Dancing with word poets
Who are little more than
Instruments of a poem greater
Than themselves

Be like Li Po and sail your poems
On streams and puddles written on leaves
Be like the anonymous poets of Poland
During the height of martial law
Dropping their poems into the public square
For the people to read
Giving them hope courage and peace
Risk your life  your literary life
Especially for the people who need
Something to cling to in desperate times

Telling the people how cruel
Their tormentors are won’t inspire them
To go on living and to overcome oppression
Loving them  becoming one with them
Standing fearless in their midst
This is the mark of the true poet

Walt Whitman was the John Wayne of poetry
Standing tall and fearless against the enemy
Which is never really man but the
Poison in his soul, pride envy and lust
How can those afflicted with the disease of egomania
Jealousy and desire for fame and fortune
Write about and from the heart?
Gone is the fire of Keats  Shelley  Byron
Whitman and Baudelaire
One column of media praise is of less value
Than a single tear drop on a poem
From a waitress in a greasy spoon diner
These people know nothing of genius
How can cockroaches evaluate eagles?
The true poet’s topic is people
Not the poet


11 Responses to “DANCING WITH WORDS…by A.D. Winans”

  1. Doug Draime Says:

    The master strikes again!! An outstanding poem by one of the best living
    poets in our midst. Ain’t no poses, or foggy mirrors here, man, this is the fire all true poets are made of. Feel the burn, baby.

  2. Walt Whitman one of the most over-rated poets in history, along with Keats, Shelley, and Byron. And John Wayne was maybe the worst actor ever, along with Humpy Bogart.

  3. I love the 4th and 6th strophes, but I don’t think it’s even necessary to add “your literary life”…it’s self evident. What happened to Mikhail Bulgakov was death to him.
    I agree with Ross about John, but not about “Humpy.”
    I also disagree about Whitman and Shelley. Shelley was a true subversive, as was Whitman. Rictor Norton sees Whitman as a prophet of gay liberation and calls him “much more subversive and radical a poet than even Jean Genet.” I can’t speak to that, but I can say I attempt to live by this creed:
    “Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand by the stupid and the crazy, …hate tyrants,…re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem…” W.W.

  4. Doug thanks for the kind words.
    Ross, when you write something as good as Whitman, then you can call him overrated.
    Eugenia, that’s a good creed to aspire to live by.

  5. AD, here’s some Whitman I came across:

    “A child said, What is the grass?…
    I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
    A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped….”

    If that’s what does it for you, then I’m truly sorry.

  6. A.D,

    Another fine poem from you, man. Strong and honest words.

    But Ross…not sure how you can truly have spent the time reading the major works of Shelly and Byron (and Whitman and Keats as well) and call them overrated.

    I suppose it’s hip to diss on the old masters…but these guys lived the life and wrote the words like few since. Might wanna sit yerself down and give ’em an honest read.

  7. I remembered from grad school that the title Leaves of Grass was a pun referring the word “grass” as a work of little value and “leaves” to the pages it was printed on. This was common language with writers and publishers of the times. Read this way it was a book of wit and wisdom and not bad for the most carried book by the soldiers into World War I…the second being the Bible.

  8. Ross, Whiteman is not an easy read for most poets. But not everyone likes him, as apparently you do not. Hell not everyone likes my poems, and that’s the way I want it. Whitman had to basically write without a language to work with. You might want to read an essay or two on him and learn who he was and where he was coming from, and, the obstacles he faced.

  9. My main problem with this poem is not Whitman (though his work is a bore).

    My main problem is John Wayne. He was a lame actor who represented the cheesy machismo that Americans like so much (Bogart too). He was always the macho white guy killing the “savage” but always cowardly Indians. They made a lot of those good cowboy/bad Indians movies during the Vietnam War. He died of cancer, and I normally feel sympathy for people in pain, but I hope John’s was really long and slow and painful.

    Long live AIM and Ho Chi Minh.

  10. Hey, A.D. I was sure I’d commented here before. I like this poem. You speak your own truth, dance to your own music and I say hooray for you. What a diatribe about Whitman and John Wayne is doing in this thread is beyond my comprehension. A slow and painful death? Give me a break.

  11. thanks Pris. enough said about the anti whiteman and wayne nonsense. it’s easy to take a line or reference and twist it away from the meaning of the poem. the only valid criticism I accept is a better piece of work by the critic.

    keep the poems coming. Enjoy your work.

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