Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘They Impose a Duty’ and other poems

By: KJ Hannah Greenberg

Memories not Cancellations

Cancel Culture did away with Mr. Potato’s head,
Censored an epic picture show of the fallen South,
From here to there, deleted tweetle beetle noodle
Poodles, capsized monuments, likewise memorials,
Similarly, smited abolitionist Hans Christian Heg’s

We Jews, though, bow to no media idols. Politicos
Never spurred our joining bold, totalitarian regimes.
We’re commanded to remember Amalek. We weep
Over six million lost sisters, mothers, grandfathers,
Cousins, neighbors, rabbis, students, husbands, full

HaShoah was genocide, was endeavored extermination
Through gas chambers, work camps, additional horrors.
We won’t ever erase the monikers of Auschwitz, Bełźec,
Chełmno, Majdanek, Sobibór, or Treblinka. We dare not.
The Völkisch program’s not dead; it’s just reconstituted

There’s no falser weight than forgetting the treacherous.
In each generation, phony prophets, tyrants, other beasts
Bloom then wither. The worst of evil remains, however,
The irrational, the scoffer, the confuser, the obfuscator.
No actual effaced historical event will eternally include


What My Soul Knows I Shall Compose

The gift of words, unlike other packaged rewards,
Is contemporaneous with responsibility, with duty
Of cosmic proportion. Servants, we’re beholden.

Otherwise, humanity might increase social mulch,
Reintegrated, ever unprotected, no vessel of light,
No fruit of arcana, no relic of supernal knowledge.

We cannot read minds; we’re left to imagine how
An infant or sage grows into Moshiach, allocating
Wisdom, truth, compassion, likewise uprightness.

Within arbors, thick climbers usually extend hope
For more harvests. Writers fashion stories, poems,
Words of tenacity, integrity, old-fashioned charity.

Likewise, as survival permits, we use depictions
Of meaning concomitant to goodness as morsels
Of elocution, advertising, past political mischief.

The crowning of our prophet/king, by avatars, or
Directly, won’t endure an interregnum, hectoring,
Sycophancy; merely will retrieve olden principles.


They Impose a Duty

To hold gatekeepers’ favor, modern writers involve themselves
In manufacturing meta-stories, in pushing people to undertake
Select points posing them as famous or as fiends of persuasion.
Yet, all things considered, certain advantageousness isn’t found
In experiences, but in verbalizations. The world demands word
Products to attribute order to odd lots of ossified beliefs, norms.

More exactly, when embracing mediated conversations, when
Separating anomalous forms from various vantage points, all
Critics’ foci predispose us toward explicated “core messages.”
With every sentiment populating manuscripts, we’re directed
To look upon utterances as enhanced by skillful significance,
Regardless of whether the texts seem beneficial or ineffectual.

In making likely their own longevity, notwithstanding “official,”
Negotiated interferences, storytellers’ sequenced semantic stuff
Uncovers meaning, bestows order. It’s not just our civilization’s
Activities pay homage to most threaded, revealed episodes, but
That “the peoples’ rhetoric,” even when circumventing all types
Of human hullabaloo, is powerful, remains desirable to denizens.

See, facilitators’ roles require their sharing their insights, issuing
Linguistically-shaped transactions, endlessly prodding auspicious
Or ill-fated moments to animate as heroes, or, maybe, as villains.
This access to perceptions obliges wordies’ invocation of viable
Improvements, constrains their use of power to arouse sufficient
Dissonance, transports us away from here without our exertions.

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