Deception

Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.

∼ Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832

I found myself contemplating deception when a poem emerged from my pen in response to The Secret Keeper writing prompt:

What dark web have you woven?

what tight-spun disguise?

humanity pad-locked and stowed

its key lost in lies

no steel claws could scratch you free

deception’s sad victory.

This poem was inspired by the five magic prompt words from The Secret Keeper Weekly Writing Prompt #29:  WEB | LOST | BLACK | SCRATCH | LOCK

∼   ∼   ∼   ∼   ∼  ∼   ∼    ∼    ∼    ∼  ∼

Human deception is a vast topic ranging from a magician’s slight of hand to lies, half truths, and concealments that plague interpersonal relationships, sales,marketing, political speeches, and corporate public relations campaigns.

The English language has 112 words for deception, according to one count, each with a different shade of meaning: collusion, fakery, malingering, self-deception, confabulation, prevarication, exaggeration, denial.

Robin Marantz Henig

Evidence of private and public lies  can inspire attitudes of cynicism.  In my opinion, a cynical view, when generalized to every situation, blocks trust, engagement and participation.  An example of a cynical view could be: ‘all politicians are phony.’  That thought could lead to a decision to not vote in an election. To me, a decision to not participate is unfortunate and stems from an over-generalization.  Some politicians are insincere, but that does not mean there are no politicians with ideals and integrity.

Insight into character comes from listening intently to the spoken word.  The physical peson, their charisma, charm and dramatic flair is more often used to persuade audiences, as they use these stealth tools of disgiuise and deception.

Maximillian Degenerez

Rather than adopting an overall cynicism, I try to focus on a ‘buyer beware’ frame of mind. Whether I am reading a food package label, hearing about a corporation’s green commitment or evaluating a politician I keep my mind immune to broad assurances that are designed to persuade or impress. I try to question and seek reliable second opinions.

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.

Soren Kierkegaard , 1813-1855

We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.
This post is in response to  Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge–an inspiring community event focusing on combining quotes with fresh poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction.

 

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Language of the people

Yeats, William Butler.jpg

Bain News Service, P. (1920) W.B. Yeats, portrait bust. date created or published later by Bain. [Image] Retrieved from the Library of Congress

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.

W.B. Yeats, 1865-1939

I find this thought, attributed to William Butler Yeats, worth considering.  We all are governed by life experiences,  our own knowledge base, local/cultural linguistics, etc.  We have stylistic choices as well.  My leaning is towards simplicity–or attempting simplicity–attempting to use words and phrases that are  understandable by an imagined collection of readers. Whether I am successful will depend on the reader, but I nevertheless see accessible language as an ideal goal. Below I have reproduced Yeat’s ‘Lake Isle of Innisfree’, which I find very easy to absorb though written in 1888.  I have also reproduced a quote below the poem, in which Yeat reflects about the language that he used.

Lake Isle of Innisfree
 

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

– W.B. Yeats

I had begun to loosen rhythm as an escape from rhetoric and from that emotion of the crowd that rhetoric brings, but I only understood vaguely and occasionally that I must for my special purpose use nothing but the common syntax. A couple of years later I could not have written that first line with its conventional archaism — “Arise and go”—nor the inversion of the last stanza.

W.B. Yeats

“William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms.” Wikipedia

I would like to thank Elusive Trope who recently posted The Second Coming by Yeats –a brilliant poem reflecting on the social/political climate of  Yeat’s time, but feeling relevant today. My choice of quotes for this Writer’s Quote Wednesday post had a circuitous journey of its own branching off from The Second Coming.  If you are in the mood for more nature poetry of the same era, please visit Silver Threading at the Writer’s Quote Wednesday link above, where Colleen Chesebro features poet Mary Webb.