Freedom is Terrible


A few thoughts on freedom

A poem in spoken rhythm

Freedom is terrible.
Freedom makes demands.
It is the harsh master
Who cares not for your

Prejudices, your
Bigotries, your
Fears, your past.
Freedom expects you to be

Somewhat intelligent,
Somewhat wise, somewhat
A person with whom
It can be trusted with

Its awful power. Freedom
Carves itself in your soul,
And cares not for the damage
It does. It cares not

If you are ready for it.
It cares not if you never are.
When it comes, it demands
Obedience. And by obedience,

I mean, obedience to the quiet
Self. But more than that.
Freedom is not 

Freedom, above all,
Demands that you leave
That selfishness. The self
To which it demands fealty

Is the self of the 
Community. The self
Of those around you. 
The self of humanity.

Because freedom is not
To do as you will.
Freedom is, finally,
To do as you should.

Those who bray about
Freedom understand it
Not at all. They glimpse it
In shadows, in dark

Crevices. They see it
As license, as the chance
To slough off all 
Obligations. As

The endless summer, where
You can satisfy all
Your desires, all your
Pet beliefs. This is not

Freedom, but chaos.
When you see suffering
And think nothing
Of it, this is not

Freedom. This is
Pathology, this is
Illness, this is
The death of all.

Freedom is life,
But life is hard.
Life is hard-won
From the soil. Life

Is earned and bled
For. Life is not 
A trophy for 
Merely showing up.

Freedom is a gift.
And gifts have awful
Duties. No gift
Is free. All gifts

Place an onus on you.
The onus to use the gift
Wisely, the onus to not
Waste the gift.

In the end, freedom
Is a sacred trust, 
One which demands
That you treasure it,

Not for yourself,
But for those who follow,
Those faceless generations
Whom you’ll never know.


4 thoughts on “Freedom is Terrible”

  1. “Because freedom is not
    To do as you will.
    Freedom is, finally,
    To do as you should.”

    And we have forgotten this.


  2. Beautifully rendered and tendered, Liberal Librarian.

    And it’s great to see you penning poetry again, as well.



  3. Hola, Don Bibliotecario.

    Just wanted to thank you for your kind words in reply to my departure from TPV the other night.

    I’m awhirl in thought about, well, every damn thing, these being days of trash fire and shatter-glass noise, so I’ll not burden this comment with additional, save that I know leaving TPV was right for me, and already I breathe a bit easier.

    In the meantime, thank you again, for your work and your kindness, and I hope we can get together for that drink some day. I’m thinking about starting my own website (hence my query a few weeks back about WordPress), doing some research. I want to feature my fiction, but also corral my thoughts into some essays. I’m also trying to fix every other damn thing in my life. You know: the usual.

    “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
    A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 3, Scene 2

    Kick-off for USA vs. France starts in 40 minutes. Scratches behind the ears to all the Hounds of Love, and all good wishes for you and yours in health, laughter, intellect, and dignity.

    Hasta la proxima,



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