Happy Tuesday to all of you dVerse poets! I am honored to serve as your host today for our poetics pub and I raise a “thank you” toast to Grace for inviting me. As I am watching the bar today, I hope you will consider the theme of “The Watchman” with me.
Harper Lee’s second novel, Go Set a Watchman, penned in the 1950’s, was recently discovered and published by Harper Collins, as the sequel of To Kill a Mockingbird. Here is a quote by the protagonist’s uncle, Dr. Jack Finch:
“Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman is his conscience.”
Perhaps you wish to write a poem based on this particular quote or the book, if you’ve read and were moved by it.
Harper Lee’s title comes from the book of Isaiah:
“…Go set a watchman; let him announce what he sees…Watchman, what time of the night? Watchman, what time of the night? The watchman says, ‘Morning comes and also the night. If you will inquire, inquire; come back again.”
Who or what acts as our personal or social watchman? Do we choose to believe or ignore this watchman? Perhaps you, like a watchman, need to share an urgent message of what you see happening today/tonight!
You might proclaim the watchman’s warning and include hearers’ response, a sort of dialogue, sparring back and forth. Robert Frost refers to a watchman in his poem, Acquainted with the Night:
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain — and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
A luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
Maybe you want to focus on an image of a watchman and tell his story through a narrative poem. You’re welcome to borrow my image or include one of your own choosing in your post. No rules for form, whatever is effective for your watchman’s muse. Please remember it’s not necessary to write a novella as we’d like to have time to read everyone’s poetic offering!
Hope to see you all out in the trail.
If you’re new to dVerse, this is how to participate:
▪ Write a poem and post it to your site/blog.
▪ Enter a link to your poem and your name by clicking Mr Linky below.
▪ If you are promoting your work on social media, use the tag #dversepoets.
▪ Lastly, please visit others at their links and read their work.
Thank you all. Have fun!
bio notes: Lynn is a lover of words and the Word. She also loves a hard-working Iowa farmer, five strong sons, three dear daughters (by marriage), and four rambunctious grandchildren She’s an educator who has learned a lot from homeschooling boys, oy! Lynn’s poetry has appeared in local newspaper and “Lyrical Iowa” anthology. She blogs “A Poem in my Pocket” at madhatterpoetry.com
a very cool theme – and one that gives space to go in so many directions as well
looking forward to read what everyone’s coming up with
thanks for hosting lynn
It’s my pleasure!
Thanks Lynn for hosting and giving us such an interesting prompt ~
Happy Tuesday to all ~
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
This could go so many ways.. and I look forward what people will bring to the bar.. today I could only think of the way we set up borders.. and those watchmen are really there to divide.. but I can also see that they are there to keep us safe.
Interesting point…how watchmen are set at borders (divisions) to protect and warn.
Quite a wide and free range you’ve given us there – a bit like homeschooling boys, I suppose…
Look forward to seeing all the responses – although am not sure I will have time to participate. I do like the theme and may link up later for Open Link.
Thanks, Marina! Hope you find time to write later 🙂
Hello everyone! Happy to help out at the pub today and look forward to see how “The Watchman” inspires you today 🙂
So many different ways to go with this one. Political, spiritual, to pop culture as well. Watchmen the comic book revolutionized the industry in many ways. I think poets are watchers in general, our eyes open for our next inspiration.
Yes, the best poets/artists are watchers/seers (“see”-ers).
Ha. Nice play on words there. “See-ers”
I like that.
Gotta open our eyes, right?…and I do wish I was more observant.
We have the choice to be see-ers.
Wonderful prompt, lynn. 🙂
We have a choice in most things. For sure
I am keeping my take on this simple – using a poetic form from the Edo period – dodoitsu. Thank you Lynn for hosting and for this prompt! I’ll be back later to read and comment. Off to hospital (not emergency) with husband. I too thought of the Watchmen comic and movie but went a different route.
Rorschach is my favorite for sure.
My cousin, who is a letterer with DC, once took one of my Watchmen and drew in a small character, wielding a katana and gave her the name of my katana: Minamikaze – South Wind….I was uber impressed and pleased. Even though it was not official, it was cool to be part of the crew.
What a treasure. The movie was ok,
it did not carry the same feeling of when
I first found the book.
I was disappointed…being a comic geek from way back, I cruised the comic stores on a regular basis. As on Big Bang Theory, Thursday night was comic night and when I went into the store, it did fall silent. It took the Thursday crew almost 6 mos, to figure things out and get back into their routine, 🙂 . When I first found Watchmen, I was over the top. The movie just didn’t have it. Cousin Billy went from DC as a colorist to Dark Horse back to DC as letterer for major bucks. Like me, getting old and his girls needed University. My favorite of his daughters went jnto engineering which totally pleased me. The other is doing layout now at Dark Horse. Primo.
Just a slight bit of jealousy here. Obviously my avatar came from a dark horse book
Yes it did. Once a comic kid, always a comic kid. She remembers who took her part for her major in university and her internship at DC so sometimes, she sends me a little something. In return, i gifted her with a very vintage Superman from when I was 6. She would have had fun with Billy and me at woodstock but was born many years too late. Big Hendrix fan.
didn’t sleep well last night – so early bedtime for me today
will be back tomorrow morning to catch up
Sleep well C.
Linda Kruschke said:
Excellent prompt. I told myself I was only going to take time to write to the prompt today if it really spoke to me, because it’s going to be hard to find time to read other poems this week. Well, it spoke to me, so I wrote and will carve out time to read. Thanks for guest hosting this week, Lynn. Peace, Linda
You’re welcome, Linda! Eager to see what you’ve written…
Held over at your place.. smiles.. almost forget to come
here.. thanks again Lynn.. and off to do
‘servant duties’ for
to read and
all later tonight..
You’re a good man to do “servant duties” for your wife…thanks for participating today.
Sanaa Rizvi said:
I chose to write something related to the quote by Harper Lee – Go set a watchman. Hope you like it 🙂
Lots of love,
Thanks for sharing your poem, Sanaa. It’s certainly a thought-provoking take on the full quote by Harper Lee. I like your rhyming echo!
Sanaa Rizvi said:
You’re most welcome 🙂
Victoria C. Slotto said:
Lynn, so nice to have you hosting. I chose a haibun based on my own life experience. I hope it’s not too depressing to others because, in reality, this has been a special gift in my life.
Such a lovely haibun Victoria, thank you ~
Thank you, Victoria. Your watching with the dying is a beautiful gift.
Some wonderful poems linked here already! Just thinking of how one’s conscience act as a watchman. I wonder…is the conscience inborn, instilled, or both? So, I’ll pour a drink and ask what do you think?
It is an illusion of our values and beliefs, played out in our actions. Values & beliefs are shaped from when we are young, but ever changing as well.
People will do what people want to do, as long as it gets them what they want – in the moment.
They may not even realize who they are, conciously, because it goes against what they believe about themselves, but — watch long enough, and the truth walks by.
Unfortunately, we can not watch ourselves. It takes someone else to notice – and have the backbone to tell us.
It’s good to have friends who will watch and call us out. Can people only act selfishly or can we develop the character to serve others? Can we strengthen our own backbone to live our values?
I think we are born needy. Our first years are all about self. Some mature out of that. I think part of it is how we are treated as kids. If everything is always given to us, we fail to leave certain developmental stages.
Seeing beyond ourselves is a discipline. It is like a muscle. When we think we have arrived we are already moving backward. And if we don’t use the muscle, we lose it.
To truly live your values takes concious effort. If you believe in freedom and equality, do you check to see where the clothes you are buying were made? Or do you just go with what looks good? Do we ever consider the workers that made it? Their conditions? What about our food? Do we support farmers and families or larger corporations that can mass produce and offer reduced prices?
If you own a car, you are most likely a hypocrite (myself included) expecially if you claim to care about the environment.
We always settle into convenience, which seems to win out over our values.
I agree with you, X. We need to be conscious of what we are doing on a daily basis before we claim to care about others, the environment, etc.
Being born needy speaks to our vulnerability, a positive trait of humanity.
“Seeing beyond ourselves is a discipline. It is like a muscle. When we think we have arrived we are already moving backward. And if we don’t use the muscle, we lose it.”
So true!!! These words could change the world.
The question is perhaps what is a function of ‘nature’ and what is a function of ‘culture.’ Societies do need some rules to survive, for example. Did these rules (against killing, stealing, etc) arise from people’s nature, or did they arise from those within a culture that wanted to help it survive and flourish rather than be chaotic?
…or is there a higher authority from whom we get our ideas of justice?
Ha. The pin is off the grenade now.
I like that lynn. I like questions that can explode.
Justice is so twisted. I think on some level we get more excited for Old Testament law – “Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” (Deuteronomy 19) Which echoes Exodus and Leviticus. Forgetting Matthew 5:38-39.
Then again, you have the other end of the spectrum where grace is used as a warrant to do anything you want without conscience because nothing is forbidden, or all is forgiven.
You juggled that grenade quite deftly, X 🙂 this is an interesting discussion…
Seriously, I love these kind of conversations – that push our comfort level and make us think about our beliefs and values. Its one thing to say “I believe ____” but its another to work that out in our lives. It challenges our misconceptions as well. because we all get twisted at times and comfortable with our dogma.
Yes, for sure, and if a watchman were to watch our life…well, we know we’ve all played the hippocrite (Greek “hypocrites” = actor).
Is ‘higher authority’ a euphemism for God? There are so many religions in the world today. I am wondering if they all have this same ‘higher authority.’
We all worship something or someone…many gods, but only one God can be sovereign…he has revealed himself.
Thanks everyone for joining us at the pub tonight…I’m stepping away from the bar to rest my bleary eyes…goodnight. Please carry on the conversations without me…I hope to read more links in the morning!
Thanks Lynn for being our gracious host, smiles ~
You are very welcome, Grace. It was my pleasure!
Bryan Ens said:
Lynn – a wonderful and timely prompt! The title of the book may have come from Isaiah, but this prompt also reminded me of God’s call on Ezekiel to be a watchman. My poem went in a slightly different direction than that, but the idea of what a watchman is supposed to do was certainly a big part of my poem. Once again, thanks for a wonderful prompt!
Whoops, it’s been years since I’ve been on here, literally! Enjoyed the prompt, however linked before I understood! Anyway, good to read what’s going on again.
Thanks for the prompt, Grace. :-0