Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Authenticity

  “But to be what I am, to live what I was meant to live, to want to sound like no one else, to yield the blossoms dictated to my heart: this is what I want - and this surely cannot be arrogance.”
Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters on Life)

“Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.”
W.H. Auden

File:The authentic look of a deer.jpg
“To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect — and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are. I’ve learned that there is no better way to invite more grace, gratitude and joy into our lives than by mindfully practicing authenticity.”
 Brené Brown

 Midweek Motif ~ Authenticity

 (the quality of being real or true)

What makes each of us authentic?  Where and when are we most authentic?  Do people perceive us as inauthentic if we change?  In what ways does authenticity shape anyone's writing and art?  

As Sumana would say, "We are all ears."


Bouquet of Roses in Sunlight 

 by Wallace Stevens

Say that it is a crude effect, black reds,
Pink yellows, orange whites, too much as they are
To be anything else in the sunlight of the room,

Too much as they are to be changed by metaphor,
Too actual, things that in being real
Make any imaginings of them lesser things.

And yet this effect is a consequence of the way
We feel and, therefore, is not real, except
In our sense of it, our sense of the fertilest red,

Of yellow as first color and of white,
In which the sense lies still, as a man lies,
Enormous, in a completing of his truth.

Our sense of these things changes and they change,
Not as in metaphor, but in our sense
Of them.  So sense exceeds all metaphor.

It exceeds the heavy changes of the light.
It is like a flow of meanings with no speech
And of as many meanings as of men.

We are two that use these roses as we are,
In seeing them.  This is what makes them seem
So far beyond the rhetorician’s touch.










An Ancient Gesture

I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:
Penelope did this too.

And more than once: you can't keep weaving all day
And undoing it all through the night;
Your arms get tired, and the back of your neck gets tight;
And along towards morning, when you think it will never be light,
And your husband has been gone, and you don't know where, for years.

Suddenly you burst into tears;
There is simply nothing else to do.

And I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:
This is an ancient gesture, authentic, antique,
In the very best tradition, classic, Greek;
Ulysses did this too.

But only as a gesture,—a gesture which implied
To the assembled throng that he was much too moved to speak.

He learned it from Penelope.

Penelope, who really cried.
Odysseus and Penelope by Francesco Primaticcio (1563)

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile
And mouth with myriad subtleties,
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while

     We wear the mask.
We smile, but oh great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile,
But let the world dream otherwise,

     We wear the mask!


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 ~ Winter )


  1. Another wonderful prompt, Susan. Specially love the Rilke quote.

  2. Thank you, Sumana. I had a hard time writing this one, dear poets. I had read a few of yours before finishing mine, and wanted to write something deeper, better than mine was becoming. How's that for a slap at authenticity! I'd like to be as confident as a tree.

    Have a wonderful week!

  3. happy Wednesday, posting again from the Library near me

    much love...

  4. Hello Susan and Poets United,
    I considered various options about the subject of authenticity. In the end, I recalled my best teacher for the subject, my mother:)
    Best wishes, Eileen

  5. Being authentic in this fake world is such a challenge!
    Loved to write for this prompt! :)
    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  6. A cool prompt........Ha, I love your comment, Susan!

  7. Just posted my poem. Have a great day everyone.

  8. Good Evening, Poets! Thanks, Susan, for the inspiring prompt! :)

  9. Vivian, I'm so sorry not to be able to comment on your incredible poem. I loved the reference to those ancient dancers--well those are the ones I've heard--acrobats leaping over the back of bulls as they danced. "Sheer audacity."

    1. I too would have liked to have left a comment on Vivian's inspiring piece.

  10. Great prompt thanks, Susan, and took me in unexpected directions – where I obviously needed to go.

  11. I really like the Rilke quote and the Dunbar poem - thank you, Susan, for sharing them. I'm so fed up with hearing about 'fake news' (I can't stand that phrase); authenticity is a breath of fresh air!


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