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Thursday, June 25, 2020


by Frederick Wilbur

We don’t tolerate ripples in window glass anymore,
the waving landscape smoothed out.
Switchbacks of moral choice are GPS’ed
as Robert Frost never conceived. Now we drive
for miles with turn signal blinking right,
then U-turn back to well-traveled interstates.

Scarecrows don’t hide in corn fields anymore,
each tassel-top chemicaled to a plastic crown—
nature is an industry, a corporation,
littered with hashtags, threat assessments,
sentimental cemeteries for passed pets.

Silence isn’t noticed much anymore,
too many ringtones, beeps, and bling,
seepage from ear buds, drones overhead—
distraction, distraction, distractions, distractions.

Wisdom isn’t countenanced anymore,
everything digitalized, Googled, auto-corrected, auto-filled.
Compassion is granted by proxy, by on-line donation.

No sincere grief anymore,
as opinions bully and greed and hate rule,
even Free Speech shows up with a gun.

But if we rant out of fear, we are not free anymore.

Frederick Wilbur has authored three books on architectural and decorative woodcarving, and a poetry collection, As Pus Floats the Splinter Out. His work has appeared in many print and on-line reviews including Shenandoah, Main Street Rag, Comstock Review, The Dalhousie Review, Rise Up Review, and Mojave River Review. He was awarded the Stephen Meats Award by Midwest Quarterly (2017). He is poetry editor for Streetlight Magazine.