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Captains of Society

I mentioned when I posted Angry Young Poet there was a second poem I shared from my youth with my students. I softened this one a bit, as it had an angry voice. I know this version sounds pretty harsh, but it is gentler. A recent conversation reminded me how I marginalize voices of those already marginalized. A professor commented he was told by an affluent person that another less fortunate person was a non-entity and the worth of human was measured in material worth. I know this might be isolated, but it troubling and I was reminded of this poem.

Captains of Society

Shallow, superficial, arrogant

Single ambition

Greatness in the eyes of others

Only those with resources can apply

The rest


Pay a high price, but…

It’s their fault

They own their misery.

A cheque to charity

Assuages my conscience

What about the despair?

Don’t care

I claim I do

Donations in good faith, but

It’s a tax receipt

I can really claim, but…

Done on the backs of others

Get the staff to donate time

Not mine.

Increase taxes

Not mine!

No way!

It’s wrong!

Tax others!

What is work?

I create jobs

It’s a spectator sport

This work, which

I manage from afar.

Drive luxury wheels



What’s the hold up?

Who’s blocking my way?

The ‘75 Ford station wagon

Engine shot

Dead broke!

Is it their home?

 Throw a party



Be merry

No concern for homeless

A romantic notion this ‘hobo jungle’

Not my world

What’s wrong?

It’s not my fault

I gave at the office.

After all.

Throw money at problems

It might help


Stop, see, care

If it really helps

Denying, refusing, unfeeling

I pay for a clear conscience

After all.

 The misery

In surround sound…

Is out of sight;

Out of mind


About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and spent the last 14 years teaching in an incrediable hybrid school setting. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. For me, teaching is a calling and vocation that allows me to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what will call me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

4 responses »

  1. Mitt Romney does poetry?

      • just seems like something he could have written.

      • I had to think about it for a few minutes. I wrote the original poem in about 1969 and the theme remained consistent. Had I written it today, the answer might be yes, but in 1969 I was seeing the beginnings of a world I did not particularly care for and it has gotten progressively worse.

        Thank you for the reflective and thought provoking comments and time to consider it in full context, It is appreciated and good for the heart of an old rebel.


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