What Rough Beast | Poem for March 17, 2017

James Dott
Advice for the President—So Far Unheeded

—A cento, gleaned from Muhammad Ali, Proverbs (paraphrased), and Buddha

Don’t count the days; make the days count.
Incline your ear to toward wisdom and apply your heart to understanding.
The mind is everything. What you think you become.

The righteous considers the cause of the poor, but the wicked gives no thought to it.
Service to others is the rent you pay for your time here on earth.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.

Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
Do not envy the oppressor, and do not choose his ways.
You will not be punished for your anger,…

A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger
…you will be punished by your anger.
It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out, it’s the pebble in your shoe.

Do not let mercy and truth forsake you.
It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand.
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.


James (Jim) Dott is a the author of A Glossary of Memory, an imagined memoir in poems. His poetry has appeared in Written River, Turtle Island Quarterly, Green Linden, Southern Poetry Review, Squid, and Rain. Visit his website jamesdott.com for more on his work. Jim is a retired elementary school teacher living in Astoria, Oregon. He taught in Oregon and overseas.

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