Of Truth and Tyranny

Watercolor of red poppies

Poppies for
Fallen soldiers.
Fallen journalists.
Blood spilled in fields.
We cannot sleep.

Go tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and everywhere.

The scent of tyranny —
truth under attack.
Liars speak in code, trade
integrity for coin and
judge without evidence.
We are not sheep.

We’ll tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and everywhere.

Sunshine on beaches,
on our children’s faces,
a sunflower’s petals,
a goldfinches’ wing,
wakes us, remakes us,
finds us, reminds us

To find truth on the mountain,
over the hills and everywhere.

Notes: Happy Poetry Friday and thanks to Buffy Silverman for hosting.

Poetry bubbles up in the tar pits of daily life.

The Brits planted poppies and wear poppies to remember their WWI fallen, a custom started by an American, Moina Michael. She was inspired by the poem, In Flanders Fields, by Canadian John McCrae, May 1915.

My poem harkens back to a time when truth mattered, when gospels like Go Tell it on the Mountain were sung to a loving but stern higher power that watched over us.

Warning, reader beware. Politics follow:

A goldfinch visits the feeder while on the news, a president refuses to honor the pledges of his predecessor and pulls out of the Paris Agreement. Implies an agreement’s name is more dispositive than its content. Enshrines oil-share-owning self-interest above scientific research. Rejects facts and history. Rejects the realized benefits of clean energy job growth to praise nonexistent smog- and acid-rain-creating jobs that were eliminated by industry automation, not governmental policy. My uncle, a former West Virginia coal miner, was on disability because of black lung disease. Will the president’s sons ever toil in mines at the risk of black lung? Will they make space for slag heaps beside their gilt towers?

Timothy Snyder, a Yale University historian, warns that truth is the heart of democracy on the Daily Show. He reveals that modern autocrats have a method for murdering democracy: lie constantly while asserting that opponents and the media are liars until they destroy our belief in truth. Game over. Democracy falls. Fascism takes its place.

Remembering, studying and learning from the past is the only way to stop repeating our mistakes. Journalists honor truth. Some give their lives for it. I remember Javier Valdez. Miroslava Breach. As Valdez said, “No to Silence.” Mexico. Ruqia HassanJames Foley and Steven Sotloff. Syria. Anna Politkovskaya and Dmitry Popkov among many others. Russia. The tip of an iceberg that threatens to drown truth. Egypt. Turkey. United States. Je suis Charlie1239 Journalists killed since 1992. I appreciate their sacrifice.

If fear of a higher power cannot deter lies, let nature remind us that no one can steal truth. Facts are facts. Questions have answers.

Whatever your politics, I hope you can agree that the truth matters.

Will you march Saturday, June 3, for truth? Protests are expected in over a hundred cities around the world. Many will be asking for an independent commission to look into the Russian links to the presidential campaign rather than a special counsel in the president’s chain of command. Many will be seeking a return to a respect for truth above spin. Loyalty to the country, not ideology.

74 thoughts on “Of Truth and Tyranny

  1. This is a powerful post, Brenda. Thank you. The way you incorporated the familiar song into your poem — so effective, a call to action.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, dear Brenda for your visit on my website! Am happy i crossed yours – the delicate beauty of your posts is exactly the inspiration i needed these days! Big hugs from Berlin and keep up with the amazing vibe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Fellow-blogger Brenda Davis Harsham offers us a poem and some thoughts on truth, especially as it relates to our world today. Please take a moment to read … I found it touching and timely. Thank you, Brenda, for this lovely post and for your generous permission to share it!


  4. You tell it, Brenda!
    I checked out the marches. The closest one to me is in Buffalo, so I won’t be able to go, except in spirit.
    Anyway, I’m commenting from my Art Gowns blog, because Georgiann from Rethinking Life challenged me to model Tenesa when she heard I was making her an Honorary Art Gown. I said I was too, old, and well….. you’ll see. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Powerful poem, Brenda. Thank you for sharing your voice for truth. May we always seek truth and never let our prejudices or opinion cloud it when we find it. Love your poppies. I think I have a spot in my “garden” to plant a few. I believe in remembering. Plus, poppies do so well here.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, just wanted to let you know about The Blue Nib a totally free resource for all poets. The site is split into two sections. The Poetry Project which is an open site for all to post, has the usual bells and whistles, community/social features/contests. The second part is the magazine which runs an open/frontend submission policy but all work is reviewed by editors before acceptance. I hope you come join and add some of your stellar work to both sites.

    the site can be found at thebluenib(dot)com

    Dave K

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for this rich and powerful post Brenda, Your poppies image and poem are full of energy and movement–transforming wonderfully from the blood of the earlier soldier to the quiet, celebrated joy of sunshine on children’s faces and in nature. I only wish there weren’t so many issues that we are all confronted with presently, though you’ve covered many here heroically. My daughter and I will be marching together tomorrow too!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Our Remembrance Day is in November, and there’s a tradition of wearing poppies on our lapels, which matches so perfectly with this poem, and that beautiful image.

    Sometimes I feel like I’m watching a terrible movie when I turn on the news – it just doesn’t seem possible that it could all be happening.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for your powerful, articulate poem and your incisive comments. When I selected “Truth” as my OLW in January, I had NO idea to what extent, or on what fronts, we’d have to fight for it. Journalists have become our new heroes. Tyranny at this scale is something we’ve never seen before in this country. It is scary and heart-wrenching to even consider the evil motives of those who would seek to destroy our democracy. I try, but it is unfathomable to me, that fellow human beings could be so short-sighted, willfully ignorant, greedy, and power hungry.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Jama. You speak truth, and I appreciate hearing it. I’ve never witnessed first-hand such an attack on truth and the media. Deliberate, overt yet subversive, too. So many good people are caught up in it. I hope we will all speak for truth and point out the lunacies we are being expected to swallow.


  10. This is a scary, scary time. We need to sing loud, shout loud, resist loud and not let Democracy fall to fascism on our watch! Love your poem. Love the refrain. Sing it for TRUTH! And yes, I’ll be at our March for Truth tomorrow!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Staying awake is so important. Politifact shares a good article today. I am so in love with my poppies that I keep taking pictures! They mean a lot today as they have done in the past, Brenda. Thanks for all you shared, including your lovely poem. “Go tell it on the mountain” indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That is a powerful poem, I really like how you have managed to show strength through delicate and gracefull things. Abosulotely lovely!!! I guess that’s how I would like to be in life, I would like to be like this poem of yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. If a person was trying to make choices that would mess up the U.S. as much as possible, they would behave similarly to what 45 has done so far. I could enumerate what I mean, but I’m sure you know. Here’s to remembrance, sunshine, and not being sheep!

    Liked by 2 people

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