Grant Handgis ~ Author/Poet
Horn of Plenty
There was little sympathy in those days
late as it was in those early years,
when young and old alike were driven to new abandon
taking all things offered by the scalper
who laid low in high profile media spots
well placed at those most opportune of moments
in daily visual traffic.
All wants were for the taking and
there were always sumptuous arrays of items
continually on display
brightly coordinated, brilliantly arranged
and always needed.
There was little sympathy around then
for those who couldn't find the formulae
Those forlorn senders of bad news and bad trips
always so tacky in their fashion and manners and
exhibiting such chutzpa to pander the better citizens
who had made their way unassisted on common charities
Only those base sorts would sink to asking for something
There was such little sympathy for the times
when opulence permeated all quarters of the higher towers
and inner offices of decision.
There was no one to see under the rugs,
to hear the squalor in the darker corners tucked away
or smell the fumes of death
cooking so slowly beneath the headlines
"There is no hunger in America"....
There is little sympathy for those who choose
not to work for a living... there are no free lunches..."
There was little sympathy back then
there was only the growing hunger
and a murmur
which grew steadily, persistently
among the vulgar rabble
ever reminded of a hunger
and a popular persuasion
that there was little sympathy back then
for the likes of them.
During the early years of the eighties the social mood had changed, and so had my life. The old fashioned notion of social service guided by John Kennedy's words of asking what you could do for your country had been remolded into a new mantra guided by "Greed is Good". I had very recently gained full custody of my two oldest children and taken leave of Arizona for greener and calmer pastures in Eugene, Oregon.
My view of social issues from the calm waters of my new home continued to change over time, as did my poetry. I continued to work in open verse as it gave me a certain freedom to lay down the lines of poetry at the same pace as the thoughts racing through my mind. The lines themselves spell out how I perceived the issues unfolding all around me, as well as demonstrate the beginning of a trend for lengthier poems, which would continue. I was slowly maturing as a poet.
The old musical adage that "you gotta suffer to sing the blues" has its counterpart for writers, especially poet types, in that a laid back contented life of ease is not the springboard of meaningful poetry. It is the angst laden mind of suffering that opens the veil of reality to the larger world and connects the poet to those realities directly, as an intervenous needle in a aretery. The pain and suffering of those brought into the poet's awareness are realized as if there were an umbelical connection between them, all. This is the lot of the poet. A condition most learn to abide, and few discard or regret.