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Yesterday, I made a declaration

to serve writing

and today I hear

the siren call

of pressure

hitting the alarm.


My inner social activists

and prosperous coaches

glare at me.

I have traded

my vision

for theirs

and made theirs nobler.

“What the hell

are you doing

for the cause?”

they sneer.


(I am the only cause

I know to serve.

I have dug through

the endless task of trauma

to get to the other side of fear

and I judge that long process

harshly with much shame

and hiding behind parentheses.)


On the fragile cusp

of my announcement

Mary Oliver gazes down

from the heavens.


“Do you think I worried

about pandering to the world?”

she asks, using my name.

“Do you think I worried

whether my volumes

would solve world problems

or start a revolution?

Whether I would be

a prosperous poet?

Would you say

I did not serve?

Do painters and other artists

pass the judgment

of your miserly inner social activist

and prosperous coaching circles

when they open hearts

and speak to souls?

Surely those circles do not want

the burden you have placed on them –

nor do you want their approbation.


Your life is none of their business.

You are in your own hands –

the only person you can help.

Take back your power

your projections

remove those inner despots

from your path

and be loyal

to the playmates

of your soul.

Feed them.


© 2019 Miriam Linderman

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