Vox Populi

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Claudia Nolan: Sometimes the Bright Sophistry of Earnest Souls

Sometimes the bright sophistry of earnest souls

of unlearned but much practiced minds

shines its own light on the tangled feet of those


so eager for the lie, the one that promises a job a meal

a summer tan in every garage and two shiny objects

for the elderly I’m sure, if there is something to spare.


And oh the child lying dead on the beach can be avenged

by launching mighty Moab at children hiding somewhere

close to evil in war torn lands. It is easy for the topsy man


to wave his hand and scoop up tired minds

and implicate those who will not praise his contraventions,

easier than stringing history together, easier


than viewing claim and motivation in the same frame

but not as easy as inventing a dandy slander. We elevate sophistry

with our own hands when it slips through our fingers.


They shout that deception pervades the land except

in their own home where they do not dream of our success;

we who make them sacrifice their hard earned rewards


with our expectations, and we who challenge their disbelief

in complexities, and we who pretend (they say we lie) to know.

What we call the truth is not pretty and doesn’t flatter


and they would rather see the raging accuser who points

away from them than their own faces yawning at tired attempts

to make them see their fate in this ingenious


deconstruction, this alpha-wild huffing that promises

no limits for them if we will just give earnest souls a chance

to prove that what worked in grade school will save the world.


Copyright 2017 Claudia Nolan


fish/baby: Image copyright 2017 by Claudia Nolan. Artist’s statement: “Here’s a detail of a bronze from my 2008 Masters’ Exhibit, called Changing Table, that deals with hubris, schadenfreude and self-deception. The surface was the first time I tried 4 different patinas in distinct areas on a small sculpture (13”h x 9” x 9.5”).”

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