On Reading Crowds and Power
Cloven, we are incorporate, our wounds
simple but mysterious. We have
some wherewithal to bide our time on earth.
Endurance is fantastic; ambulances
battling at intersections, the city
intolerably en fête. My reflexes
are words themselves rather than standard
flexures of civil power. In all of this
Cassiopeia's a blessing
as is steady Orion beloved of poets.
Quotidian natures ours for the time being
I do not know
how we should be absolved or what is fate.
Fame is not fastidious about the lips
which spread it. So long as there are mouths
to reiterate the one name it does not
matter whose they are.
The fact that to the seeker after fame
they are indistinguishable from each other
and are all counted as equal shows that this
passion has its origin in the experience
of crowd manipulation. Names collect
their own crowds. They are greedy, live their own
separate lives, hardly at all connected
with the real natures of the men who bear them.
But hear this: that which is difficult
preserves democracy; you pay respect
to the intelligence of the citizen.
Basics are not condescension. Some
tyrants make great patrons. Let us observe
this and pass on. Certain directives
parody at your own risk. Tread lightly
with personal dignity and public image.
Safeguard the image of the common man.
Geoffrey Hill's Other Poems
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Comments about this poem (On Reading Crowds and Power by Geoffrey Hill )
Still I Rise
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Edgar Allan Poe
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
A Dream Within A Dream
Edgar Allan Poe
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Tonight I can write the saddest lines, Pablo Neruda
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- No Man Is An Island, John Donne