Thursday, June 4, 2015

Forty Shades of Gray--A New Poem by Stan Brunn


31 May 2015   The title of this poem came from a passing comment by New York Times editorial writer, David Brooks, on PBS (Public Broadcasting System) News Hour 8 May 2015 where he was discussing how some of the Republican presidential candidates are addressing important and delicate issues.

Forty Shades of Gray

Photo by Bob Brinkmann

Popular music lyrics describe Ireland with forty shades of green

Light, dark, and many, many shades in between.

One might also use the “gray” word to apply

To “shady” practices we observe many a day.

Gray is a color between black and white

Between what is considered wrong and what is right.

There is not just one gray shade

But very dark, very light, and more than one in-between grade.



Some politicians and lawyers may operate on the dark side of gray

On a given issue and perhaps even many times a day.

But they are not alone in practicing grayness

Photo by Bob Brinkmann.
As some practice “big time” and others “little time” lawless.

Bankers may bend rules with impunity

Believing they are somehow above civil authority.

High government officials may take bribes in practice

Thinking they also are outside any system of justice.

Scientists may manipulate data for a major discovery

Hoping the findings will bring them global notoriety.

Physicians and nurses face “gray” challenges daily

Regarding life and death and also emergency.

Clergy may even practice pulpit plagiarism

Assuming they are immune from members’ criticism.

Musicians may cleverly steal the music they are performing

And deny any sense of professional wrongdoing.

Coaches may spy of competitors’ game plans

Never admitting that they are perpetrating scams. 

Journalists may gain respect by sensational reporting

Photo by Bob Brinkmann.
Knowing all the while they are facts distorting.

Police may hide behind uniforms and badges

Believing no one will dare refute their truth versions.

Academics teaching distorted subject matter and material

Are guilty of professional behavior most unethical.

Farmers raising illegal crops and physicians selling illegal drugs

Support addictive habits with the help of professional thugs.

Human sex traffickers and illegal gun runners

Are among the most depraved of “gray” violators.



Frontier living often has a “grayness” element in human survival

That operates outside the formal codes considered ethical.  

This issue is not simply fuzziness and shifting grayness

But deceptively practicing it on a daily basis.   

Deciding to live on “the dark side of gray”

Photo by Bob Brinkmann.
Means consciously breaking the law on a given day.

Whether smuggling, dispensing drugs or speeding

Results in disharmony, stress and unhealthy living.

Sooner or later the “gray” may become blatant

Especially when the action to all is blatant.  

The moral and ethical police then may enter

And apprehend the blatant violator.

Or the “grayness” perpetrator may see the light

And seek forgiveness and do the right.

Living and loving on the “dark side” of gray

May have its rewards, but also its punishment day.            
                                                                                                              
                                                 Stan Brunn           

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