soul stealers
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  keith  o'connor
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There are times in life when we must compromise but there is a danger in how we compromise - for in that transaction we may loose our self esteem and thus our souls to those who would make us into people who make other people into door mats.

Soul Stealers

you are too sensitive
you are silly
you are childish
you cannot turn on the sun
people will see
people will see we lie
people don't know
you can't show them
they will be afraid
afraid when they see us
see us as we are
we will loose respect
they will judge us
they will condemn us
just do as we tell you
we know better than you

that's better
come - be with us

we're sorry you died
before you could tell
you were such a wonderful man
oh yes! such a wonderful man
so spirited
yes - so spirited
sensitive too

keith o'connor
2003 - 02 - 19
Ottawa Ontario Canada


The poem's title "soul stealers" expresses the idea that that your soul can be stolen. Once you allow someone to cajole you with logical fallacies that you cannot quite comprehend, but still know down deep that you may be right - even though their words convince you otherwise. If at this point of feeling you bend and voluntarily acquiesce to their manipulation then you are going against your own inner feeling of self respect and thus have given them your soul.

Soul Stealers is a composite of my experience as a volunteer on boards of directors. Volunteer boards are rarely based upon democratic management styles which encourage free expression of opinions unchallenged by the use of put downs intended to support a personal bias at the expence of well thought out ideas. It is normal for these boards to be ruled by an autocratic chairman or chairwoman.

To sustain this type of management style requires other volunteer participants to assume a subservient position and defer all creative thinking to the official leader and those who's view the leader considers acceptable. This then becomes the typical benevolent autocracy with the leader sowing favor on a few.

The group continues to bumble on as long as they do not require interaction with the outside world in the form of new members from radically different cultural experiences.

As the group ages new members become a problem. But the benevolent autocracy prevents rapid integration of new members into the power group.

As a result of this rigidity many volunteer organizations teeter on the edge of a slow painful death for many years. Yet they continue holding fast to their symbiotic relationships between dominant and subordinate personallity types.

This poem expresses the relationship between a power group composed of your usual benevolent autocrats; passive aggressives and door matt types. They attempt to cajole through management by intimidation techniques any new member bringing in new ideas. New members who show independence must learn their place.

In the end they fail to absorb new rebellious independent thinkers and must look again to find someone more willing to conform.

The poem ends by painting a portrait of kind sensitive people successfully masking their ugly souls from themselves and others.


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