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November 29th, 2020 Poems

On Being Right


I am always right. No?

As my father would quip,

“if you are so smart,

then why aren’t you rich?”

How do I ever know that I am right?

Is there an umpire sitting over the court,

claiming fault or no fault ,

or an additional line judge?

No, in my life I must look for other markers

or make a wild guess,

even if confused by vague definitions

and murky rules.

“Are we almost there?”, the children ask.

Who is authorized to answer definitively?

I look for a source and seek clues

and answers,

but accuracy is always

weak and unreliable.

So I cast my eyes back over to the umpire

and notice that he or she

may be dozing, or hard of hearing ,

or with limited vision.

No, the journey I make is in the mist and

through weeds and swamp.

My footing is always uncertain,

dry feet or deep in muck.

Being right seems to be a curious concept,

like reaching for that pot of gold

at the end of the rainbow,

which always is receding.

Furthermore, maybe that is

not even a desirable goal.

Perhaps “right” is an aside, or footnote

or useless appendage.

Maybe placing one’s heart in the middle,

and negotiating the journey

from that vantage point

is more important.

Given the weakness of the impaired umpire,

right is probably unknowable.

I am left to follow a star

that only I can see,

and hope.


-Paul Redstone