On Fear

Rebecca Harris rebeccaharrisart.com

Rebecca Harris

With the shortening days
the long shadow of fear falls
again across this land we love
Not like a wilderness set ablaze
More the singe of electrical wires
somewhere in the house’s walls
where we cannot see the blaze
merely smell the hot danger
the noxious odor of fear

I saw fear’s long shadow
cross the face of a checker
yesterday at the local market
Smelt the singe coming off her
signaling that wariness of a soul
no longer confident of a place
in the neighborhood the land
The fear of being branded
as the other in her nation

‘Let’s give him a chance!’
you say as though the porker
had wings with which he’d fly
But isn’t it too late for chances
His words have already shorted`
thru the insulation of all grace
He will not be content until
he’s burnt us to the ground

“What I fear most is despair
for the world and us: forever less
of beauty, silence, open air,
gratitude, unbidden happiness,
affection, unegotistical desire.” ~ Wendell Berry

About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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11 Responses to On Fear

  1. rivrvlogr says:

    Never to fly, but hopefully the pilot earns some sort of wings before the flight is over.


  2. Peter, you have a right to your thoughts, and you have a right to express them, especially since they line up relatively well with the politically correct discourse that is proclaimed by Hollywood and the mainstream media. The Left has been dismantling the right to freedom of expression for those who disagree for years, and the best place to find evidence of that is on college campuses. I find it amusing when the overwhelmingly liberal mainstream media expresses surprise that there are so many “angry, white men and their wives among us.” (No racism or sexism there.) First of all, they are making big, erroneous assumptions, and second of all, when people fear repercussions for holding certain opinions (repercussions encouraged by said media), they tend to keep such opinions to themselves. (Here in liberal Maine, my conservative friends and I tend to speak in whispers.) I have little doubt that such a situation would have worsened with four years of Hillary Clinton at the helm. Trump is untested in the public-servant arena, so I make no predictions. Yes, he is coarse and he is no paragon of virtue. The same, however, goes for Hillary and her husband. We somehow survived 8 years of Bill in office; we’ll likely survive 4 of Trump.

    I voted for neither Trump nor Clinton, for contrary to vote-pandering rhetoric, my opinion, in a state with four electoral votes, truly does not matter in the national arena (In the local arena, it has a better shot at making a difference.) I will not tell you what name I wrote in, because too many among us trumpet our opinions and use them as cudgels on those with differing opinions.

    What I find distressing in all the fear mongering, whining, and violence is a lack of basic understanding about history (If you’re looking for a racist president, FDR is your man. Remember the Japanese internment camps? Which world leader do you think led the way when nations had the chance to take in Jews at the beginning of the Holocaust but turned them away?); about liberty (If you don’t want the government involved in your life, don’t ask it to make more laws and bankroll more programs.); and the way our government was designed to work (The electoral college so we don’t get mob rule—a truly terrifying thing. In fact, if you want terrifying, read up on the French Revolution. Three branches of government as a check on unbridled power in any one branch. Obama was the one who said, “If Congress won’t act, I will” and went on to sign executive order after executive order. Now liberals fear the tyrannical overreach of power they cheered not too long ago.).

    I guess that’s my long-winded way of explaining why I seldom like or comment on your poems now. I generally do not turn to literature for fear mongering and hand wringing. I can get that anywhere else on the Internet, but I’d prefer to enjoy my life and live with gratitude for the freedoms I do enjoy, all while looking ahead to everlasting freedom. As a matter of fact, I turn to literature, among other reasons, to be reminded that human nature never changes (no matter what progressives believe); that the ends never justify the means; that I am personally responsible for my own satisfaction with life and whatever it deals me; that no, this is not the worst of times, not even close; and that while every human life matters, from conception to natural death, the world does not revolve around me and what I believe or feel.

    By all means, continue writing what you need to write, and I’ll continue reading, but it’s possible that I’ll leave no evidence of having done so. I pray that you’ll find peace in your heart, your mind, and your soul. Godspeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • WOW! You must like me an awful lot to write up the above critique of my ‘fearmongering’ poetry. If not, I’d guess you wouldn’t have gone to the trouble . . . That you like or comment on my poems is not nearly as important to me as that you read them, not just the stones strung on threads, but between the lines, carefully enough to be offended by them if you must; or motivated by them to think again about questions of conscience and behavior over which we think our hearts and mind have found peaceful resolutions . . . I appreciate your not simply agreeing with me but challenging me to deeper thought and more creative expression. Blessings on your quiet peaceful life back there in Maine. I always look forward to reading your posts on what it is literature that moves you to respond. Grace, Mercy, and Peace!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t see this as the end of the line for America Peter. And I doubt if people were actually voting for Trump per se. I see this and Brexit as a protest from the people against the increasing helplessness of the poor. Not that I think it will improve matters.


  4. nervously optimistic here – humility is sometimes most easily learned by the arrogant


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