There are countless esteemed works left for us from the great minds of the past. But is there a similar representation for minds of the present? After all, times keep changing and so do the people. This free verse poem muses about greatness that seems prevalent in history but often absent in our modern world.
What makes a mind great?
Despite comprising a generation that minds things greatly, it’s an accolade we rarely assign anymore.
How different are we accomplished from thinkers of the past?
Did Fitzgerald fidget when a joke fell flat?
Did Eliot feel inadequate?
Or did Socrates stress over the ever-growing size of his own ass?
Surely, Shelley lost sleep over the reception of her written word.
I want to ponder life in a secluded cabin. Give me Thoreau-level insight far removed from materialism but close enough to DoorDash Chipotle.
I’ll document my experience without filters. I’ll exude natural beauty, God willing.
Were the great minds of the past so removed from shallow thinking?
Or are we simply blessed with the best of their musings and spared from their shortcomings due to lack of accessible outlets?
Would Hemingway be so esteemed if he’d shared selfies on social media?
Can brilliance emerge in the era of sleaze?
These great minds molded us. We follow in their footsteps, pausing occasionally to post pictures of our designer shoes.
Are we able to cultivate human connection in a culture that strives to reduce people to merchandise?
It’s undeniable that our purpose has evolved from connection to consumption.
Sell yourself. Develop a brand. Be worth more than your neighbor. Be liked. And be liked more. Then be hated for being too liked. Repeat.
The real winners are the pharmaceutical companies. I don’t know whether to bolt for the hills or invest in antidepressants.
How poetic, all of this wasted potential, forgotten in the corner of a thrift shop, waiting to be photographed and exploited.
How tragic, the epic heartache dulled by dating apps.
After all, how is an artist to properly suffer when convenience is but a click away?
The dissatisfaction of it all yields hope. The urge to escape this trite existence is proof that it is not all-consuming.
I believe in the poets with high-end make-up. The philosophers buried in debt. The storytellers in price-gouged studio apartments.
Brilliance lives among us. It lays buried beneath garbage heaps of fruitless words that grow taller by the second.
But it exists. Truth exists. Its value proves greater than ever before.
Its shine will break up the dullness.
So, poets of the modern world, do not pack your sensitivities in pursuit of tranquil solitude.
Use your words like claws and dig.
Dig to the heart of us.
Uncover the heartbeat that dwindles but never dies.
Help the world rediscover why we have words in the first place.
We are not to be bought or sold.
We are to be known.
Plato once said: “The right question is usually more important than the right answer.” The intellectuals whose words we so often study did not provide us with concrete answers. Instead, they gifted us with ideas to ponder. It is up to us to discover new unanswerable questions. And I hope we all do that in our own unique ways.
Featured image via Ali Karimiboroujeni on Unsplash