March Slice of Life No. 29
These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness,
the Beginning of the creation of God:
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.
I could wish you were cold or hot. So then,
because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,
I will vomit you out of My mouth.” -Revelation 3:15-17
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” -Elie Wiesel
Out of the words of Revelation and the words of Elie Wiesel — lines arose, flowed through my pen, and formed this poem.
I blur lines between dusk and
dawn, crime and punishment,
light and darkness, cruelty
and compassion, good and evil
With me, you’ll see nothing.
I am tempting, often seductive,
making it easy to look away,
easier to be detached, to
avoid interruptions in your life.
With me, you’ll do nothing.
I am called apathy by some, neither
hot nor cold, unconcerned, neither
loving nor hating, uninterested,
reducing anguish to abstraction.
With me, you’ll feel nothing.
I make way for apostasy who abandoning
sacred beliefs turns from truth to heed fables.
Behind us comes anarchy—the great bearer
of confusion and perpetrator of lawlessness.
With me, you’ll believe nothing.
I am neutral, though neutrality helps
oppressors, never victims. I am sworn
to silence, though silence encourages
tormentors, never the tormented.
With me, you’ll judge nothing.
I am more dangerous than anger,
more treacherous than hate. I’ll
soak your countryside in blood,
turn your cities into cemeteries,
With me, you’ll suspect nothing.
I am the friend of your enemy. Hear
this fair warning — stand by, do
nothing and I shall take your humanity.
You will be dead and not know it.
I am indifference.
I am your end.
© 2018 Alice Nine. All rights reserved.
Elie Wiesel – Noble Prize Speech 1986
NIGHT by Elie Wiesel (downloadable pdf)
Such a powerful sentiment. Such a meaningful reminder.
So poignant. So powerful. So true.
Wow, Alice. As you know, I am the opposite of indifferent so this is a topic (and a quote from Elie Wiesel) close to my heart. I really like the form you created — those last lines of each stanza are very powerful.
I’m so glad you stopped by, Tabatha. Your blog title actually was a seed for this poem… when I first saw it several years ago. I thought about footnoting that on my post.
Shivers down my spine when I read this early this morning and again when I re-read tonight. What a powerful statement. This one speaks volumes.
It does that to me too when I read it. It was very emotional to write… had to lay it down for periods of time. The thoughts include about apathy, apostasy, anarchy comes from discussions my husband and I have had about that trio since our college days.
Such a strong invocation of that pernicious emotion, indifference. There are those who think indifference is a kind of objectivity. You present the dangers of this so well.
I am reminded of “silence implies consent” or “Qui tacet consentire videtur”, Alice. Beautifully conveyed in your poem, something that I wish most would read and heed the reminder.
Alice, your words are absolutely breathtaking. Sometimes, with so much ugliness going on in our world, it’s hard to keep caring. Thank you for this very important reminder. Phew…..
Alice, this is a powerful poem that brings indifference to the podium. Who would follow his words, his actions, and his deeds?The last line leads us to a call for action-down with indifference! (Can you please send me the link to your grandmother poem? Thanks.)
You have given indifference a scary life. How can anyone choose to be indifferent after reading this. Powerful.
Powerful personification of indifference. It’s an emotion that seems powerless, yet it is all powerful. You have made the case.
Wow, you have blended your sources of inspiration together so well. It’s a magnificent poem, with so much meaning. Thank you. Indifference is such a silent killer. I copied a set of promises from a classroom teacher recently and the first one is: “I will speak up instead of being a bystander.” So important for kids to get this!
Wow! Very powerful poem. It won’t make anybody indifferent. I really like the ending.