Confusion in resistance

It’s not from friction of my quill,
not from lack of ink or paper,
I have all the syllables but it seems
I cannot stitch them into sense.

It’s not my dearth of cause or purpose,
not deficiency of rage or passion.
I’ve got anger, I’ve got reason, but it seems,
I cannot bleed my angst to fervor.

It’s not because I loath your pretty paintings
not because I cannot stand a smile.
I know the colors of the rainbow, but it seems
I cannot see what’s bright in darkness.

It’s not because I don’t believe
that poems can be prompts for action.
I know how words inspire war, but it seems
I cannot point the path towards the sunlight.

Resist by Blek le Rat

This is for Brendan’s prompt on resistance at toads. I will also link to Poetry Pantry tomorrow morning.

September 15, 2018

48 responses to “Confusion in resistance

  1. I loved–if one can–the negations (“it’s not …”) that help you to get to the heart of the matter, or as close as this next poem can (for there will be more, right?). Banksy is a good imager to liken to this process, because it’s conditional, fleeting, some what of a theft. And if words can boil but not warm, can they ever be sunny enough? Nice job …

    • Thank you… writing through a negations is one of the tricks I was taught at a poetry workshop… “via negata” is a term in theology to describe the divine that cannot really be described… one way to approach a tough subject.

      • That road (“via”) gets us deeper into the truth than we could have gotten on easy or safe affirmations. In resistance poems, the good is always the enemy of the best! Thanks for joining in the fray.

  2. Pingback: From Bruberg’s PoemToday | NANMYKEL.COM·

  3. Interesting. I took a simple path for my reistance because I have often found if I keep things simple, I usually find the way. I tend to be more upbeat and positive in my thoughts and poetry because I am just that way in real life. “but it seems
    I cannot point the path towards the sunlight.”. I think too many times we take the negative road. I did half of my sestet with negatives and redeemed them with positives. I know. It is elementary and maybe childish but, that is how I am.

  4. I feel the same way….I am having trouble pointing the way toward the sunlight. Some days I wonder if sunlight will be seen again.

  5. This is absolutely awe-inspiring Bjorn! ❤ Especially loved this: “It’s not because I loath your pretty paintings/not because I cannot stand a smile. I know the colors of the rainbow, but it seems I cannot see what’s bright in darkness.” 😊

  6. really cool use of “it’s not”… it leaves the answer for us to find – what is left after what it isn’t.

  7. “I’ve got anger, I’ve got reason, but it seems,
    I cannot bleed my angst to fervor.”

    Anger, and angst, can only fuel the fires for so long …. anything undertaken in “reaction to” – in revolt to, in defiance to, often loses its strength and power … because these are temporary inflammations – perhaps incredibly combustible and devastating – but persistence and passion – these are longer term and I think, more effective.

    The third stanza is interesting – and it makes me laugh – because some insist on painting, creating and constantly offering the empty, not because Beauty is empty – but far too often, we judge and accept the superficial and “perfect” and “idealized” as being an ultimate standard. Some people aren’t “meant” to create or express the “rainbows” … and there is nothing wrong with this – at all – AND it most certainly doesn’t suggest that they are “gloomy” or “negative” people, with personalities equal to this.

    Interesting response to a challenging and very specific yet broad prompt. I rather enjoyed this poem.

  8. “I cannot bleed my angst to fervor.” Ha! Apparently you can! What it is not, clarifies what is–always–but this time in an ironic wish for company in the darkness. This narrator is asking to be seen. “Loathe” is a power word here, one that cannot be ignored. Perhaps acknowledging it together can get us all closer to relaxing in the sunlight/love.

  9. I really like how you tell us so much, show so much… through a poem that says its speaker can’t do any of that. In these days of roaring and chest-banging, there is power in knowing how to focus our anger, how to let it out, or keep it in until we no longer have to, or how to share it in ways that seem like we are not.


  10. i find the final two lines to be most on point, Bjorn. One wonders sometimes, if any kind of resistance ever really makes a difference. Does poetry?

  11. As yes, my dear friend I know this state well – the struggle for clarity and coherence. How elusive it can be, especially when you feel like you need it most… And yet at other times, if can drop into your lap,almost unexpected, like diamonds from the sky! All this is a mystery, but one that I think is best dealt with by an an ongoing faith – in what, I’m not sure!! Other than an ideal perhaps best characterised by a consistent belief in the possibility of goodness, of light, of generosity and redemption. One day hopefully we get to place where we understand more – then again maybe we won’t… But in the meantime, our glorious struggle goes on and the more we share this with others then the better it goes… So thanks for sharing with us your honesty too…

  12. Oh, I love the stream of thoughts here through the non-negotiating proclamations. The use of negations is very impactful, as others have pointed earlier.
    I am left wondering about it and the nature of any art when we talk about resistance. There’s definitely some form of confusion in it — I think the conundrum is not if it matters, it is if it matters the way we would like it to matter.

  13. This seems to capture the zeitgeist of the age, where anger over the disgraceful behavior of various governments is plentiful, but there seems so be so much to resist against that it’s hard to see the glimmers of light anywhere, let alone a rainbow of hope to indicate the worst of the storms have past.

    For my part, I resist when I can, allowing myself rest to mourn when I need to so I can get up when I am able and hope that any pinpricks I make in this darkness allow just enough light for someone more capable to see by.

  14. I think I’ve traveled this path a time or two it’s hard to find light when your heart feels darkness.

    The following lines speak volume to me as sometimes when I can’t feel the rainbow, creator airbrushes one across the sky for me to behold and once again believe.

    I know the colors of the rainbow, but it seems
    I cannot see what’s bright in darkness.

  15. Negation, an Eyore attitude, is time ill spent … a battle we all encounter from time to time. Reminds me of a long ago song lyric ,,, “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don’t mess with Mr. Inbetween”.

  16. A sense of helplessness, or at least bemusement, pervades this poem, and yet the poet persisted in writing it! So perhaps all is not lost. Perhaps there is hope. At least I hope so!

  17. Besides handling the theme with Magnificence~ for me, everything seemed to come together, stanza to stanza; beginning to end.

  18. Got all the right structure but can’t get things going to fruition. Impotency in the area of writing, writer’s block?

  19. The use of anaphora repetition, here, serves to underscore what: ‘It’s not’. That adds, I think, to the sense of confusion which culminates in the final line: the ultimate frustration at not being able to ‘point the path towards the sunlight’. A well rendered, relevant piece.

  20. it’s something interesting i learned today, writing through a negations. it looks like quite a useful tool, as your poem has shown what it can do, a mean, impactful poem.

  21. Thanks for this – I like the ‘via negata’ as a tactic – and well deployed here. After all those negations, I was left with the sense of space and a question – ‘so what is it?…’ which is your point I think.

  22. Sometimes writing about what we do like/want/admire is harder…I think because it’s been done before. Nobody grew up with Hallmark collections of protest songs, so anything about what the writer dislikes can seem fresher than poems about what the writer likes. But we have to work through and discard a lot of cheap imitations of the poems we love about the things we love.

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