Judging the Martyr

Pre-treated in her subjective dimension
where good deeds ring like bell towers,
the stains on her spirit
mark avenues of change
used to remind us
of the price she pays
from her own pocket
to lift the rest of the world up
from its misery of circumstance.

Fishing for praise,
she says it takes time to answer
all of the pleas for magic that poverty
propels from hungry mouths.

(It’s almost like she’s an angel.)

she says,
itโ€™s not a big deal;
she doesnโ€™t mind doing it.

Brenda Warren 2013


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Note: I didn’t use intrigue.

23 thoughts on “Judging the Martyr

  1. A lovely poem! It’s so nice to see another Brenda on Sunday Whirl too. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you consider submitting a poem to Pilgrims (www.pilgrimspoem.com) — a place-based poetry platform that I started about a month ago. Aloha!


  2. Brenda- I am really glad to have come into reading this piece after all the comments. I am so intrigued (there I used it for you.) how the same words can evoke contrasting universes of thought. I have learned to take a deep breath around this type of person- they are in need of much attention and usually they are doing more good than harm. Which in today’s world is better than the other way around.

    Great write. Glad to be here this week. Teri


  3. Interesting how meaning changes when we read the same words with different attitude…and title says ‘Judging the Martyr’ – it’s said: judge someone by his| her laws…just saying…but I can’t not agree with you about him being ‘Martyr’…nice use of words ~ thanks for challenge!


  4. It reads hopeful to me Branda, hopeful and kind, not sarcastic at all. Maybe I’m missing something but I like to read it this way. I like it very much. ๐Ÿ™‚


    • It’s interesting for me to try and read it through your lens, Veronica. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I can see the good in the person more strongly through your take on the piece, and it was an interesting exercise to attempt your perspective.

      The deed itself is still good, even if the person forces public recognition of it. In my judgment though, and I recognize it as judgment, doing good for others is better done on the down low. Be generous and kind to be generous and kind, NOT because you want others to know how much of yourself you give.

      The angel bit reads more beautifully through your lens. I like it.


      • You know, that’s so true; being generous and kind for its sake is the noble and high road way to be. What I was thinking is that if it takes recognition in return for the kindness, that kindness has still happened and is still golden and valuable. Maybe your hero is a sort of Bill Gates who can’t step sideways without attention. Maybe he’s someone who causes attention to bring more awareness to his deed in order to incite more people to do the same. (Hmm, maybe he’s just an attention grabbing hog with money…lol) ๐Ÿ™‚


      • My hero (again an interesting lens) actively seeks recognition, especially when avoiding more pertinent issues. His good works become a focal point, at times, I think, to pull discussions off track for different reasons.


  5. Don’t you have an expression “Indian Giver” where the gift is not fully given. So it is with charity for if thanks and praise are required then the gift is only partially given. A very thought provoking piece Brenda.


    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, OE. It is nice that you understand the piece as I intended it. As for “Indian Giver,” when I was a kid it meant that you gave something to someone and then took it back. It’s ironic because white Europeans took the land from the Indians and never gave it back. Treaties were made to be broken. The use of language to disparage ethnicity is deeply ingrained in American culture. Perhaps in all cultures, eh?


  6. A few things come to mind here…Considering Hubby and I (while looking for an evenings relaxation) almost sat through ‘Bruce Almighty’ for a second time.

    Sister Theresa, Joan of Arc…


    • Thanks for your comments Jules. This was intended to be more tongue in cheek. Not true martyrs. You know…that person who does good, but then tarnishes it by talking about it. Good deeds done for recognition….that kind of martyr. I added the line “Fishing for praise…” maybe that helps. When I read it aloud, there’s sarcasm in the angel aside.


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