rise up! a poemanifesto for people of integrity

Now is the time for you to step up! Now, as the world sets to ridding itself of liars and thieves who ply their nefarious trades in the name of liberty and all that is good and true. Now, as the bright light of day shines into darkened corners and illuminates the misdeeds of those who claim to selflessly serve the downtrodden and vulnerable, even as they inflict pain and the horror of untold suffering.

If you can speak the truth without obfuscation, we need your voice. If you can rein in your personal needs for aggrandizement, for opulence, for unrestrained control, we need your strength and guidance. If you follow a moral compass marked by zero tolerance for the heinous abuse of all who reside outside the halls of power, you must leave whatever it is you are now doing and make your stand.

Next year may be too late. Putting it off until you’ve got more money in the bank or more schooling under your belt, may be too late. If you have fresh ideas and a spirit free of compulsion to follow the torn and tattered flag of conventional wisdom, clean up your affairs and prepare to move to the head of the table.

(As I wrote the above, I realized the sentiment is akin to the piece “The World Needs You Now,” which lives in the Pages section of the right-hand sidebar. Then I found this poemanifesto from January 2006…)

Rise Up!
by Rachel Snyder

Rise Up!
You who have wept the bitter tears of persecution
Who have felt the upward lick of flames searing flesh
Who have been struck dumb by the sword
By the henchman’s proclamation
By the unceasing fear wrapped tightly around your neck

Rise Up!
For in you beats a heart that knows the power of truth
Grace of wisdom, infinite knowing
A strength unmatched by the emanations of oppression
Driving force whose path unfolds in a ribbon of peace

Rise up! and untangle your conflicted inklings
Your impulse to soothe the frightened and weak
To touch in softness the crumbling edifice of the forgotten, discarded
Your hand glides before you in its flight to comfort the brokenhearted
Dispossessed, you offer shelter
Shattered, you offer an unimpeachable foundation
Without, you are laden only with the gifts borne from within

It is not enough to stand by idle!
To carry empathy in the strings that bind your heart
Rise up! Swords drawn
To cut through such muck and consolation
That hold you hostage to your deeds most courageous

Your arising brings with it the light of 10,000 suns
Here, tossed off are the trappings of bondage
To be reissued not once more
To free from primeval patterns the holding down of human flight –

Men in high boots and chiseled jaws, astride black stallions
Rise up! into their own descendent byways
The barking of orders ceases
Pounding no more in darkened vibrations of sound
Flesh against steel, gnarled fingers and toes in the wake of torturous gleam

There is a child who cries your name
Arms outstretched await the embrace
A mother’s eyes are trained on you
Waiting
When will you step out in their name?
Scoop up the fragments of life and lead them gently home to Love?

Rise Up!
Retain your rooting, unsettled spirit
The sky is yet another branch in an ancient reckoning tree.

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