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The Problem with Being Passive

The problem with being passive
is that as I watch others live,
their struggles do not imbue me
with their growth,
cannot hurt me overtly with their sorrow,
but for, perhaps,
a brief moment of empathy
and a deep sigh
before I press the button
that turns the channel to a more
acceptable and less frantic frequency;
more inane speech and laughter,
less blood and grief.
If the batteries of my remote are dull,
I grow annoyed and curse my misfortune,
as though calamity of any kind,
even the death of an appliance,
has no business at my door.
It was not Passivity that strengthened me
against the day I put my cat down
or the day the doctor said, "Surgery."
It did not help me give my child
encouragement when her baby
died only two months into embryonic life.
Watching does not teach as well
as heartbreak and paying the piper.
I do not stop to "lookie loo"
at freeway mishaps,
I do not watch fist fights or the homeless
vomiting and drunken in doorways I pass,
though I consider them deeply, later,
happy to be home and safe in my walls.
The problem with being passive
is that one can grow old
without growing up,
grow jaded without
true experience to blunt the soul,
grow insensitive to suffering not one's own.
The problem with being passive
is the numbing boredom
of only being
while others bleed
and live.

8 Jul 05

Rated 8 (8.3) by 1 users.
Active (1): 8, 9
Inactive (7): 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 10

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Passivity led no one to read this yet!!!
 — unknown

I really like this, Isabelle 5.  On L12 inane is spelled wrong.  L19 to L26 are particularly strong.  I think the 5th stanza could be stronger, it's a little too straightforward for me.  All in all I love this since I feel it's a valuable perspective, especially for me as I approach 40 and battled with passivity in my younger years.  Good job.
 — jodieal

Thank you for catching that typo.  The faster I type, the more stupid my computer seems to be...lol  I also have to push myself to live instead of watch life.  I believe there are the watchers and the watchees and we have to fight that tendency in ourselves to sit on the side.  Sitting down to cheer is one thing but sitting down to watch, forgetting we have a race to run ourselves, is deadly.
 — Isabelle5

I like it.  I have never been passive, even at times when I should have been...but it is interesting to see this from the "other side".  Good job Isabelle.
 — SaleenDriva

I think the sentiment of passivity you are writing about is something so truly a part of the human condition that is rarely expressed in poetry.
I think ill just watch you do it though
Loved the poem
 — raman

I don't think it's a natural thing with everyone.  I sometimes think that firemen/women, policemen/women, nurses, etc. are involved and it's inborn.  Some of us are good at applauding, some dance.

Thanks to all of you for reading this.
 — Isabelle5

Easier to watch than react, perhaps.
 — unknown

An engaging and well written poem that made me stop and think - especially of something William Blake said, 'without contraries there is no life' - we have to know passivity in order to know when to act. I've learned how to compromise better if that means anything?
 — opal

Passive poets don't read and comment!
 — unknown

"while others bleed and live"

isabella, u never dissapoint us, well done 9
 — Odin

Thank you.  I save my disappointing for off site victims.  heh heh

you know who you are.
 — Isabelle5

Hey, I enjoyed the height of your perception into the melancholy majority.  
 — john

i liked this one and felt that you drew a good picture of being passive - i have felt these things and liked this work as a whole. makes me you think about some things.
 — adifferent1