Poetry Reading: Tiptoeing Elephants, by John Hansen

Read Poem: Tiptoeing Elephants, by John Hansen

Why do people take offence
so easily these days?
It seems that almost everything
offends in certain ways.

No matter what is said or done,
written or expressed,
someone somewhere, who knows why,
will be visibly distressed.

There once was something called “free speech”
where opinions could be shared.
Conflicting views were called debates,
feelings respected, but not spared.

Most people, then, could take a joke
and share one in return.
It wasn’t seen as bullying,
and the world was not so stern.

Ethics always seemed quite clear,
don’t be unjustly cruel,
but if you made a dumb remark
you’d be called out as a fool.

People stood for elders,
pregnant women, or infirmed,
when riding on the train or bus.
an etiquette easily learned.

Men opened doors for women,
and let them enter first.
But chivalry’s now forgotten,
it’s a relic of the past.
When did people grow so soft,
can’t take some joke in jest?
Especially if it’s said in fun
and no insult is meant.

Now almost everything you say
will be dissected word for word
to find something derogatory,
or race or gender slurred.

I don’t know how it came to this,
it’s all just gone too far.
The rules we had in place for years
fell well below this bar.

Some even want to change the text
In classic literature,
so it won’t offend the snowflakes,
so sensitive and pure.

Now, you better take such care,
don’t write that, let it pass,
or someone may take you to court
And sue your sorry ass.

Well, I’m sorry I can’t do that,
wrongs can’t be just ignored.
Society has swung too far.
Too much has been outlawed.

It is a writer’s solemn duty
to tell the truth he sees.
Inform the lost and blinded
who can’t see the forest for the trees.

Everyone has rights I know,
But not to the extreme
where the majority must tiptoe
like elephants through cream.

By John Hansen 2020

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