(For the record, I am going to be writing a lot of very similar poems that I intend to enter into a contest with a specific theme. I gave the theme below the poem, so please let me know if you thought the poem actually expressed the theme or not. I will love you forever if you provide good commentary.)
The Marvelous Monster (Written September 17, 2014)
I am the knight in shining armor,
Come in on a snow white steed.
I am the good example, yes,
And fate thinks well of me.
I work towards the common good,
For those who can’t, I act.
The weak and the old, the poor and in need,
I work on their behalf.
All look towards me for what to do
When something isn’t right,
For I’m the good when all is bad,
The bright star late at night.
So I can’t ever make mistakes,
They can’t see what’s inside,
That I’m not really what they think
Is something I must hide.
I can’t let them know the truth,
My faults would breed disaster!
But God, Oh God! forgive me please,
I’m much worse than a monster.
So, I wrote this for Spark’s Contest Seven: Monsters and Marvels. This is the idea of the contest:
Theme: “Monsters and Marvels”
Like darkness and light, Yin and Yang, monsters and marvels are two sides of the same coin. Each entry should include both a monster and a marvel—though “monster” and “marvel” may refer to same element of your entry. For a prose example, see the imaginative short story by Peter Medeiros, Silence Like a Falling Chandelier.
The theme for this contest invites open interpretation: are monsters physical manifestations of evil, or the internal demons that plague us all? Marvels: fantastic bestiary creatures, or symbols of the human spirit’s resilience?
See? I’m trying to express a certain idea, the concept of the hero, the pressured, expected hero, crumbling inside until all that is left behind is the horrible certainty that they are a monster. Because that is what unrealistic expectations can do to a person. You build them up on nothing, you force them up so much higher than they can go, and eventually they realize that they are trying to hold other people up when they aren’t actually standing on anything. So they fall. Or they live horrible, hallow, haunted lives, constantly aware of what people think of them, yet equally aware of the fact that they are not what others think. And that contrast can make them feel all the shabbier. The marvel is so pressured, so elevated above where they actually are, that the gap between reality and what they actually are breeds the madness that makes them certain that they are actually a monster because that is the only other option left to them. It is one or the other, or so the expectations of other have led them to believe, so when they realize they can’t possibly be the marvel others expect they become certain they must be a monster.
Expectations are powerful things. Be careful that you don’t push people too hard.