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Dean's Daily Poem
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Hello, tongue!--I'm a tongue too!

[Note: Maybe not the world's shortest love poem....]
_________________________________________

"Nobody--NOBODY--treats me this way!"

A great Zen riddle, akin to
walking without walking and talking
without talking:

Stop treating me the way
nobody treats me.

"Who has injured you, blinded Cyclops?"
No man has injured us.
_____________________

[Notes: This is rather complex, as my short poems go. And it has a weak spot. I'll break it down a bit, as usual insulting the intelligence of
most of you:

Superficially the poem is about the illogicality of a figure of speech: Saying "Nobody treats me this way" as a response to someone
treating the speaker "this way." That sounds like one of the Zen riddles ("koans"). You can learn about them by googling "Zen Koan." Zen
masters have been known to say things like, "You must learn to walk without walking." (Zen masters probably say such things without
saying them.)

The Cyclops part refers to one of the adventures of Ulysses. He and his men are captured by a Cyclops--a one-eyed giant. The Cyclops is
keeping them in his cave, planning to eat them all. (He's already eaten some of them.) When he captured them, he asked their leader
(Ulysses) what his name was. Ulysses replied "No one" or "My name is No one."

Ulysses manages to sharpen and heat a log and use it to blind the Cyclops. The Cyclops is also a sheep-herder. Though blind, he guards
the cave entrance. Ulysses and his men escape by hanging onto the bellies of sheep as they leave the cave to graze.

The "No Man" comes into play when the Cyclops is blinded. He screams for help. Other Cyclops show up and ask, "Who has done this to
you?" He replies, "No man has done this to me." They shrug and leave. (Poor Cyclops--he has been hiding in EnCYCLOPedia ever since.)

The main point of the poem (for me) is in the last word, "us," not "me," the point being that it's difficult, perhaps impossible, for someone
else to injure any of us without our cooperation, our agreement. We are particularly injured--and vehement about it--when we, ourselves,
feel we have harmed someone else. Thus, for example, the spouse who has been unfaithful will be particularly enraged by minor things
done to him/her by the betrayed spouse. The man who has kicked a dog hard will just about be killed by a minor scratch or bite from that or
some other dog.

In other words, the poem has something to do with the art of being a victim. The opening line does have that kind of "Look how terribly I'm
affected by your actions" sound of victimization.

So what's the weakness in the poem? For me, the obvious weakness is that the first line should be "Nobody--NOBODY--treats ME this
way!" The difference is the uppercase "ME." A person using those words is usually stressing his own importance. He's someone big and
special. That's a bit of a distraction from my intended theme, a slightly different situation. It's not "how can you treat me so badly," but "how
dare you treat ME this way." It's about pride or vanity as well as victimhood.

And that glitch is there because when I started to write the poem, I didn't know what it would turn out to be.

And that's why I still like the poem. I like the way a riff in one direction moves through a series of associations to end up somewhere I didn't
expect. Maybe not a good poem, but I enjoy reliving the process. And the poem will still convey to some the idea that the reason we say
"Nobody treats..." us this way is because nobody does. No one injures us.]


Dean Blehert
Blogs:
http://deanotations.blogspot.com (short poems)
http://dearreader08.blogspot.com (essays and longer poems)
WWW.BLEHERT.COM  
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