Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Respect

 National Civil Rights Museum Memphis, Tennessee, USA

"Self-respect without the respect of others is like a jewel which 
will not stand the daylight."
~Alfred Nobel 

"Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized."

“In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, 
women are not merely tolerated but valued."  

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. 
It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” 

Midweek Motif ~ Respect

In a time when disrespect is rampant, noticing respect is vital.  We can still be surprised by the millions of ways people (and nations) show respect for each other.  Let's spread respect today. Let's show it and praise it and trouble it and mend it.

Your challenge:  Compose a new poem about a positive instance of respect.  

miss rosie

Lucille Clifton1936 - 2010
when i watch you 
wrapped up like garbage 
sitting, surrounded by the smell 
of too old potato peels 
when i watch you 
in your old man’s shoes 
with the little toe cut out 
sitting, waiting for your mind 
like next week’s grocery 
i say
when i watch you
you wet brown bag of a woman 
who used to be the best looking gal in georgia
used to be called the Georgia Rose
i stand up
through your destruction
i stand up

                             (there’ll be days like this.) — The Shirelles
These folks ’bout to respect me into the grave.

At eighty Mama said, (mama said)
           “People think you change when you’re old
             but you still got a girl inside.” 

And men could see her, too 
         — that pink silk dress —
soothe that hotel bellboy
         “Boy, I’m old enough 
          to be your mama.”
He coy 
          “well, you ain’t.”

But seventy is prime time 
for me to own what “elder” brings.

I reap myself with the respect they sow.

They don’t know I got the road 
wide open in me.

Source: Poetry (April 2013)

I'm just an ordinary chap
Who comes home to his tea,
And mostly I don't care a rap
What people think of me;
I do my job and take my pay,
And love of peace expound;
But as I go my patient way,
--Don't push me round.

Though I respect authority

And order never flout,
When Law and Justice disagree
You can include me out.
The Welfare State I tolerate
If it is kept in bound,
But if you wish to rouse my hate
--Just push me round.

And that's the way with lots of us:

We want to feel we're free;
So labour governments we cuss
And mock at monarchy.
Yea, we are men of secret mirth,
And fury seldom sound;
But if you value peace on earth
--Don't push us round.

excerpt from My Indian In-laws

I remember India:
palm trees, monkey families,
fresh lime juice in the streets,
the sensual inundation
of sights and smells
and excess in everything.

I was exotic and believable there.

I was walking through dirt
in my sari, 
to temples of the deities
following the lead
of my Indian in-laws.

I was scooping up fire with my hands,
glancing at idols that held no meaning for me,
being marked by the ash.

They smiled at the Western woman,
acting religious, knowing
it was my way of showing respect.
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE.)

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and 
visit others in the spirit of the community—
Next week Sumana's Midweek Motif will be "Memories."


  1. Thank you for another interesting prompt

  2. Looking forward to reading people's take on this prompt.

  3. Enjoying lovely responses to this wonderful prompt. Thank you Susan.

  4. Dear Poets, I asked for respect to be uplifted and here it is! And now you know MY secret, that I haven't finished any of the dozen poems I started and scrapped yesterday. Respect is simple, and most difficult if I want to include all and not focus on one moment. I will certainly make one small lyric today. Respecting your poems, even loving them.

  5. Thank you Susan for another interesting prompt. happy Wednesday to all poets here today

    much love...

  6. Ah, how I love Miss Rosie! As for the topic, there are so many areas where respect is lacking, and needed, that I scarcely know how to begin. But I will seek some inspiration and return with something. Kids, over at Real Toads, my poem written in tandem with Paul Scribbles posted today, if you feel like taking a peek. It was a very cool exercise, writing with someone I didn't know, and we are both pleased with the result. We will be featuring Paul here in the coming weeks.

  7. Thank you for such an inspirational selection of poems and music. This is such a good topic. Glad to participate today.

  8. Dearest Susan ... in this upside down, turbulent, troubling times - I found myself being pulled into quite a funk this morning... thank you for this opportunity to see a a bit of light and pull myself out and about. Going on to read now. Again- thank you for the inspiration and looking forward to reading and responding.

  9. Thank you all for this time together.

  10. Thank you for the prompt. My piece isn't a poem, but a very current reflection on what respect really means.


  11. My respect to my walking partner :)

  12. This was hard for me to write – partly because I tried to respond simultaneously to the dVerse acrostic prompt and partly because I was trying to use poetry for intellectual argument, which is not my forté.

    1. PS Thank you for providing me with a quote to use in my acrostic, Susan!

    2. It's very cool how you did that. They may be the only words of mine ever memorialized in someone's poem!


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