I wrote this piece on a Sunday afternoon. I like the poem very much. I thought it was one of my more personal pieces, and it is, but it is also oddly political. When I picked a song to accompany the writing, I chose “On Eagle’s Wings” a song that I’ve liked for a long time. It used to be a guilty pleasure — the song isn’t what I used to consider very hip. A benefit of aging is that you just like what you like, and don’t care what anyone else thinks about it. What’s next? Lawrence Welk? At any rate, I’m in good company. President-Elect Biden mentioned this song in his remarks after it was clear that he had won the election beyond the shadow of a doubt. The song is a Catholic hymn. I had no idea. I just knew that Michael Crawford used it to close a concert. Listen to the song and read my poem. I think they are kind of beautiful, which is a quality that I like in my work when it appears, and that always surprises me when it does. I love it when the writing reveals to me that the requirements of being a citizen, and the requirements of being a human being are identical.
Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas
11/8/20: Negotiating the World Checklist #poetry
Sincerity is the only proper basis for forming relationships.
Sincerity attracts good fortune to itself from without.
Never perform, pretend or persuade.
Persevere in following your deepest spiritual impulses.
Never betray your conscience and inner beacon.
Never seek association with others as if you were an obsequious office hunter.
Don’t throw yourself away. Always maintain your dignity.
Only maintain sociability with people who do not belong in your sphere. Never engage in intimacy with such people. If you do maintain such intimacy, you will not be free to enter into relationship with people of your own kind later on.
Surround yourself with people who respect you and treat you well. If such people are not immediately available be faithful in your solitude. The solitary person will be rewarded with fruitful relationships if he or she only has the patience and faithfulness to wait.
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