{randomly: time for a rondeau}

Glasgow Merchant City 57

Though it’s hard to see, the moon had a perfect rainbow around it last Tuesday night.

I’m not good lately at actually getting a poem up on Poetry Friday, so we’ll have to toss one up when we can. This poem echoed strongly in my head today, for various reasons, not the least of which is having heard from a friend back home, and realized that as the years have passed, they have become someone other than who I thought they were.

How odd life is, sometimes. And yet, not all surprises are unpleasant. Just… this one.

We Wear the Mask

by Paul Dunbar

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,

And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

It’s Burns’ Night here in Scotland, and where am I off to, instead of to a dinner of haggis, neeps and tatties? To chorus rehearsal. I can’t complain; if my Scots (and Irish and a few Welsh and one Spanish) contemporaries can rehearse without complaint (hahahah – I’m sure they are complaining, but that makes no difference to our director), than I can, too.

Truth, hurts, as the saying goes. And while I love this poem, it’s a painful kind of love, filled with winces. It makes me question many things, including how needful polite lies are. And masks.

May your day be filled with bare-faced truth-tellers. And strength to hear that truth.

One Reply to “{randomly: time for a rondeau}”

  1. Oh, I love this poem.

    We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries

    I also love Billy Joel’s song, The Stranger:

    Well, we all have a face that we hide away forever
    And we take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone.
    Some are satin, some are steel,
    Some are silk and some are leather.
    They’re the faces of a stranger,
    But we’d love to try them on.

    Well, we all fall in love,
    But we disregard the danger,
    Though we share so many secrets,
    There are some we never tell.
    Why were you so surprised that you never saw the stranger?

    The rest is at http://www.metrolyrics.com/the-stranger-lyrics-billy-joel.html

    We aim for truth, but really, wouldn’t we fall apart without our nice societal masks? I don’t know…

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