Ronald J. Pelias – Three Poems – 4

by Ronald J. Pelias

Unfolding the square napkin 
on my kindergarten chair,
awaiting the daily treat,
Ms. Angelo’s angelic hand 
dropping down, one Oreo.

Sunday mornings, just my Father
and me, the smooth pews, slipping 
over the rounded front edge, 
the itch, the hymns, his singing 
off key, pulling me to his side.

Edging the concrete circles,
figure eight after figure eight,
leading to the closed door, 
my clippers follow the curves,
cutting back Saint Augustine. 

by Ronald J. Pelias

Those who spend their lives
with whispers, who speak
when backs are turned
listen for a story to claim,
live for the shadows, relish
the dark. Their day begins
at the end of the shared.

Those who spoke in trust 
who learned to fear their honesty, 
shut down, silence themselves, 
feel the coming judgments, caught 
in the squirm and squeeze 
of words. They now use time
trying to shield the tender.

by Ronald J. Pelias

Appeasers are of little use when resistance is required,
when avoidance of conflict allows power to take hold.

Conciliatory acts of reasonableness are slapped down, 
crushed without a second thought, without regard.

There is no pacifying. Dogma knows no bounds.
It concedes nothing. Its belligerence is loud-mouthed 

Totalitarian regimes never stop; they must be stopped.
Peacekeepers, with their kind hearts, keep little peace.


Ronald J. Pelias’s work has appeared in a number of journals, including Midwest Poetry Review, Coal City Review, Poetry East, and Negative Capability. His most recent books, Performance: An Alphabet of Performative Writing (Routledge), If the Truth Be Told (Sense Publications), and The Creative Qualitative Researcher (Routledge), call upon the poetic as a research strategy.