Ayn Rand

So you would change the world
and make the roughest edges plain,
extend your level down the field,
widen and pave each lane,

erase what makes a difference
between one soul and the next,
reward in equal measure
with the coin of self-respect,

enforce equality across the board,
no matter what,
regardless of the steps it took
to get each to that spot.

Forget that it’s adversity
that defines who we are,
our flaws as individuals,
the perfect surface marred

that makes a talent marvelous,
a special gift unique,
a voice worth recognizing
in the mob from which it speaks.

The world is not an easy place;
it is not meant to be.
A price is paid for every breath,
for every liberty,

for each kind of convenience,
for the smallest bit of joy,
for every gift you choose to squander
or by luck, employ.

To change the world,
to make it so that each has equal share
when some work harder
than the rest seems blatantly unfair;

that’s like imagining auditions
to find out who’s best
that don’t require participation
or some kind of test.

I wonder how you pick
a winning singer on a show
where everybody thinks they’re great
because someone said so;

despite the fact they have no rhythm,
sense of key or pitch,
and will not listen to advice
but instead only bitch

that those who judge are blind,
or worse, malevolently cruel,
and cannot see that every lump of coal
contains a jewel.

Which isn’t so. Only a few,
that persevere in time,
and overcome the pressure make it
to the finish line.

Would you lay out your hard earned cash
for coal and gem the same?
That’s not the change that this world needs.
It’s already half lame.

19 SEP 2006

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