Editor: Douglas Drenkow

V A L U E S   &   I S S U E S


Legal Notices

Links of Interest

LIBERTY: Rights & Tolerance | December 25, 2002


A Poem about Tolerance,

Published in My Christmas Newsletter

Once long ago,

   in the Land of Conjunctions,

There lived many words,

   which fulfilled many functions.


"But" was a word

   ever pugnacious.

"Although" was so cautious;

   "Nevertheless", quite loquacious.

"If" was a peacemaker,

   or so said the Bard;

"Despite" served at times

   as a faithful rear-guard.

Bravest word of them all

   was the hero "However".

And Chief Justice at court,

   "Whereas Wheresoever".

Ruling all words,

   in this curious land,

Were His Highness King "Or"

   and his wife, good Queen "And".

Now, "Or" was a sovereign

   always demanding

To choose between options,

   to rank every standing.

"Is this the most proper?

   Or must that be the best?

Is one thing the greater?

   Or is that thing the less?

Shall we like black?

   Or shall we like white?

Or how about brown?

   Or is yellow just right?

"Should we consider

   all men as superior?

Or should we not hold

   our fair ladies inferior?

"And how should we worship

   our Almighty God?

This way or that way?

   Not at all? I am awed.

"Should all our fair country

   be used to make goods?

Or should it be only

   farms, pastures, and woods?

"Is it nobler to do

   honest manual work?

Or to doctor or lawyer

   or to serve as a clerk?

"Are children best raised

   by the village at large?

Or should only their parents

   have tasks to discharge?

"Decide!" cried King "Or",

   "Or I'll tell you what's best.

Let us honor the chosen

   And be done with the rest."

"Stop!" cried Queen "And",

   "We must all hang together,

Both opposites attracting

   And birds of a feather.

"I love the whole spectrum

   and both genders, all faiths,

And families, communities,

   and the whole human race.

"No color is right.

   No color is wrong.

Many colors make a painting.

   Many notes make a song.

"And men are not masters,

   and women, not slaves --

Neither born saints;

   neither born knaves.

"Methinks there must be

   more ways up to Heaven

Than we can imagine,

   more than seven times seven."

And so on and so on

   rebuffed good Queen "And",

The wisest Conjunction

   in all their fair land.

But "And", too, had her faults --

   upon deliberation,

'Twas thought best to moderate

   even her moderation.

One day good Queen "And"

   with King "Or" on her right

Was approached by two scholars

   in the throes of a fight!

"One plus one equals two!"

   cried one learned scholar.

"One plus one equals four!"

   the other did holler.

"One answer is right

   or maybe the other,"

Pondered King "Or",

   "Or maybe another."

To put a quick end

   to this unpleasant scene,

There came a pronouncement

   from Her Highness, the Queen.

"You, Sir, are smart;

   and so, Sir, are ye.

So let's split the difference:

   one plus one shall be three!"

Well, nobody's perfect;

   yet the praises we sing

Of this good Queen

   and her well-meaning King.

But confusion would reign,

   in those days of yore,

As their legacy passed to

   the Princess "And/Or"!

Personal Note: I originally wrote this poem for the "Reading" one summer's evening at the home of a friend -- everyone brought something brief to read to the group -- it's amazing what a wide variety of interests and views people have...even if, Heaven forbid, they don't all agree with me!

Return to Archive of LIBERTY: Rights & Tolerance


Home | Editor | Values & Issues | Feedback | Legal | Links