Monday Poetry Train/Self-Appointed Paragon

To those who have been with me since the beginning, this will be familiar.  But I’ve always kind of liked this one, so I thought I’d post it again for the Poetry Train passengers. 🙂 


Self-Appointed Paragon     

She lords it over every gathering
As if hers is the example to uphold.
She speaks with fat words
Favors pejorative replies
And pretension lies upon her face
Ornamental and bold.

She suffers from proper etiquette fixation
A pious and unwavering thicket.
Fills her quota of one good deed per week,
For in her world,
You must rack up enough points
To score the big ticket.

I’m fascinated by her unflagging display
Her need to don the war paint,
Then perform
An almost poetic dance
Along that fine line
Between hypocrite and saint.

I feel nothing but sorrow
Watching her desperate search for grace.
For she will never find it
Not as long as she looks at the world
Through the reflection of self-
Through her own perfected space.

But, I once glimpsed beyond that mask
A woman in fear of crash landing.
And in that brief moment of clarity,
I understood
That maybe one person’s perspective
Is just another’s misunderstanding.


Take A Ride on Rhian’s Monday Poetry Train!


About Rinda Elliott

Writer.I love unusual stories and credit growing up in a family of curious life-lovers who moved all over the country. Books and movies full of fantasy, science fiction and romance kept us amused, especially in some of the stranger places. For years, I tried to separate my darker side with my humorous and romantic one. I published short fiction, but things really started happening when I gave in and mixed it up. When not lost in fiction, I love making wine, collecting music, gaming and spending time with my husband and two children. I’m represented by Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Agency.
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17 Responses to Monday Poetry Train/Self-Appointed Paragon

  1. I really like this, the third person observation works better than maybe an Omnicient third person view of this world. Works kinda like the narrator in Christa Wolf’s “The Quest for Christa T”, crediting yourself as a writer and possible narrator and your criticism of the observed and of yourself.

  2. rhian says:

    Aw hell woman – that is awesome. yeah – what GG said above me, uh-huh.
    no really – that was powerful. It starts of with a pow with these words:
    “She speaks with fat words / Favors pejorative replies / And pretension lies upon her face / Ornamental and bold.”
    damn brilliant word play.

  3. relliott4 says:

    Oh, I’m glad you guys like it. I entered this in a poetry contest once and the judge said the narrator was a horrible, judgmental person. She simply didn’t get that the narrator learned a lesson about assuming. Yes! The writer is criticizing herself as well.

  4. carol says:

    Love it. I know this person, several of this person. Even if the narrator is judgemental, she learns about herself as well and in a poem, the narrator is allowed to judge, say what she thinks, or there wouldn’t be a poem. Carol

  5. I live in an area full of these people. It makes it hard to smile and laugh and have fun with life when they are looking down their noses at you. I want to grab them and shake them until their hair comes down and they see it’s okay — good, even, to smile and laugh.

    I think you should submit this to a journal where the editor has more of a clue.

    Thanks for the re-run for us Trainers.

  6. SciFiChick says:

    OT – But I like the new look to the blog!

  7. relliott4 says:

    Thanks SciFi! I haven’t decided on it completely yet. Still messing around. Can’t decide on the color or black and white peepers. heh heh

    Carol and Susan, there seems to be a lot of people like this. So, so many. It’s disheartening sometimes.

  8. Wow. I know this woman. {apparently everyone is saying that lol}Damn-this is an amazing piece!!

  9. I’m actually getting a bit lonesome for these people, lol. I would kill for an intellectual snob to look down their nose and find me tiresome. Suburban Arkansas is getting to me, I suppose.

    Lovely, wonderful poem Rinda. I think you should sub this somewhere else. It’s gorgeous. A ‘real’ poem, lol.


    anna j evans

  10. stak says:

    “fat words”……..that’s nifty right there…………

  11. relliott4 says:

    Thanks. That is my favorite line other than the last one. The same judge said it was a poor use of the word fat.

    You guys are so much more fun than that judge. heh heh

  12. julia says:

    I’m chiming in with the other “fat words” lovers. Powerful and succinct. Perhaps that judge didn’t like being told through your poem to go on a vocabulary diet. And I really enjoyed the photo layered into the post.

  13. Scott from Oregon says:

    I thought this was great– ALl of it except “crash landing”.

    Hated that.

    Your first stanza– simply wonderful.

    Whoever judged this must have been “one of those”…

  14. relliott4 says:

    Share your real feelings, Scott–don’t be afraid. 😉

    That last stanza was reworked over and over. I liked the last two lines so much and had to find a rhyme that showed the woman felt fear just like the rest of us. It’s not going to work for everyone.

  15. Wow! That was deep! Love it!

  16. An excellent observation of human nature! Kind of makes me wonder what behaviors I exhibit that others misinterpret…

  17. Scott from Oregon says:

    I replaced the words “crash landing” with the word “upending” and I was made very happy. Love everything else very much…

    Excellent poem.

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