See the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project to read the poems for March 24, 2014 by scrolling down to “Day 24/Poems 24” and of course, to read my poem: It’s Just a Salad / by John C. Mannone
In writing “It’s Just a Salad,” I had to be careful that the theme of unity didn’t become like a sermon. Though I was primarily thinking of what some would call religion, I found it much more widespread as evidenced by the “rant” below.
I won’t apologize for my Christian subtext because the poem can still be taken as a secular view on unity and working together. I tried to be careful not to be preachy, a term that equally applies to secular views. People are divided on many issues, regardless of faith, but those issues will not be resolved without some effort and compromise. I’m not talking about compromising principles, but of conviction. Sometimes we must pick our battles.
Here is that postscript to the poem. I include it here so you can see what I was wrestling with, but ultimately decided it was best to leave it for an optional discussion:
Before the meal, let’s get all the religion and politics out
in the open so that we can avoid the inevitable indigestion
if choked down while we eat.
What is unity among men? John Donne’s meditations tell us that
no man is an island, yet we are wrapped around ourselves.
How can tyranny be stopped without solidarity against oppression?
Have we, mankind, not come together against a common threat, an enemy?
Even the demons know a house divided against itself cannot stand.
Benjamin Franklin, a forger of our Constitution, confessed it is not perfect,
yet we, the representatives of political parties, must put aside our differences.
And of our synagogues and churches, why so many different doors,
different pulpits, different doctrines? Even the atheists are united
in their belief and have their own one church.
Are there that many gods that we need so many denominations (or for that matter,
so many religions)? Let us call out to them, see which one answers,
see who’s out to lunch or on vacation, which of them are sleeping
or in the outhouse. If there is only one, then let us serve him.
There is one faith, one body, one baptism, one Lord above all