I do not fear what terror comes by night
and would with malice trouble fitful sleep;
such bugaboos may cause a moment’s fright,
but fade in cowardice as daylight creeps.
More brazen ne’er-do-wells parade by day,
and mask their ill intent with angels’ tread;
it is such foes as these, that seek to prey
on those awake, yet unaware, I dread.
A winning smile may hide an evil heart,
and artful praise so sway the doubting mind
that where truth ends and outright lying starts
would take a trusting soul lifetimes to find.
Too often, those who harbor foul design
use some imagined pretense to impose
their will, and lay their claim to me and mine.
They are like wolves who dress in lambswool clothes,
and in broad light of noon steal with a pen
or briefcase what no midnight thief would dare,
proclaiming all the while to be a friend.
Against such brigands, too few are prepared.
As teachers, senators or men of god
they pry into the storerooms of the crowd;
with words of velvet, hide their iron rods
well-used to beat down those who protest loud.
Foul hypocrites! Your speeches that divide
the poor crowd’s reason from its tender soul,
reveal you have no meaning left inside
save for your selfish need to wield control.
If you would speak my piece, or use my name
to justify your actions or your cause
and then when failure looms, leave me the blame,
do not expect from me grateful applause.
You will condemn me, should I speak my mind,
or cause one hapless stray to doubt your means;
Regardless, I will point out where I find
your acts a danger to my truth, or dreams.
15 MAR 2005