The Right Reverend Doggerel Considers the Writer’s Place in Society

©2005 Ross E. Lockhart

The writer’s place in the world, as such
don’t always seem to count for much
when held up ‘gainst the power of kings
our words fall flat to brutish things.

Swords versus words; yeah, that old saw.
Neither’s much use to a hungry maw,
but while a blade can only goad,
the right phrase lands where your heart’s stowed.

We scribble-scrawl, we weigh the tides,
we entertain the bored with pride.
We conjure laughs, and shocks, and rage,
with inkstains spilled on every page.

But imagining we’re prophets, philosopher-kings,
or garreted geniuses won’t give our words wings.
Instead, the big secret, though it’s crude and commercial:
Write like it’s a job, this ain’t a rehearsal.

Revise and submit; oh, and write all the time.
Process those words, ’til they come out refined.
Consider your audience, your market, your base,
and craft sentences poised to delight and embrace.

Now even though it’s all just a great big crap game,
submit and submit ’til they remember your name.
And keep right on working; just keep on cranking it out,
’cause a writer that’s lazy is just a dull useless lout.

Then as you are working, inhabit your choices,
give all of society’s needs the right voices,
encourage and steer and inspire polemic,
force your readers to rise from the drab epidemic.

And maybe, just maybe, least that’s what I’m hoping,
we can force this blank world to just jump up and open.
We can get people thinkin’, get people learnin’,
rekindle the fires that long since stopped burning.

‘Cause like you, I’m writing to right all the wrongs,
through my perilous prose and quotidian songs.
Since I’m sparring a world that’s pernicious and cruel,
What better disguise than the cap of a fool?

While I’m making ’em laugh or I’m making ’em cry,
I slide in ideas, pass the censors right by.
I hope to influence my dream to fruition,
by my words in the world, yeah, that’s my ambition.

So take up my charge, be a part of my hope,
whether you’re storyteller, poet, or scop,
just throw those words out there, mark your territory,
with poem and legend and fable and story.

And maybe, just maybe, if we keep it all going,
We can stop the dull tide, arrest its gray flowing,
And alter the world, so that people are reading,
‘stead of just wanting, and hoping, and needing.

Sure it’s Utopian; yeah, it’s ideal,
but it’s real and it’s honest and it’s how I feel.
The king and the brute, well they won’t stand a chance,
‘gainst our army of writers, in the right circumstance.