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Once Each Day (A Poem for English Teachers)
Language is predicated on telling the truth.
It's not that we always tell the truth.
It's that if we rarely or never do,
Language loses its point.
In America today
We expect lies from corporations, governments, and scam charities.
We expect lies from every side
In the name of profit, success, and power.
In a world where everyone customizes what they want to hear
And listens in an echo chamber of self-sameness
To only what they want to believe,
The truth is an orphan any way.
The truth that is important is not spelled with a capital "T".
Truth with a little "t" just means trying
To respect the world and others the best we can
By letting words mingle with things and not just desires.
If you want to know whether your new idea is good or bad,
Ask someone who doesn't love you or hate you,
Who knows some things you don't
And will listen to what you say and not who you are.
The point of truth seeking is not being right.
It is trying to be right
And allowing you may be wrong
And that someone else you don't even like might be right.
The rich fat cats deny Global Warming
So they can keep selling oil.
Hospitals call themselves charities
When they collect every penny from the poor.
Of course in America this is nothing new.
Adrian Mitchell said it so well some time ago
In his poem, "To Whom It May Concern
(Tell Me Lies about Vietnam)":
"I was run over by the truth one day.
Ever since the accident I've walked this way
So stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Vietnam".
Lessons go unlearned.
We lose more wars
And harm more people
Because we will not teach and learn.
The "English teacher" is the key.
The job is to teach the students to once at least
Tell the little "t" truth each day,
To feel how it sounds on the tongue and looks on the page.
Once each day will keep the devil away.