Defense Stance

My pen shall sally.
Henceforth, no more poetry.
Read between the lines!

About this poem

In an office where I once worked more than forty yeas ago, I was often asked to compose a poem for someone on behalf of whatever the occasion called for. My professional colleagues seemed to enjoy this, but occasionally would censor me for apparently revealing or exposing personal and private information that I, as a writer, was unaware I had been doing. Somehow, in some fashion, unknown to me, my pen in its act of composition, was putting on paper, hidden things stored in some other unconscious world or dimension of time. I was being censored for “knowing things.” It was decided that I should be silenced. This happened swiftly. The director of my unit was approached by my colleagues with the request that he berate me for my unwanted “revelations.” This he did awkwardly, since I served as his informal speechwriter. When I met with him, he was surprised that I quickly agreed without any counter argument; but I had a surprise in store for everyone. At lunchtime, I bought a blank greeting card and wrote on it a few words (three lines) as a formal reply of my agreement to cease from writing poetry. Those words of three lines, first written in the nineteen seventies, are what constitute the poem which appears here. They were written in irony, as a gesture humorously signifying the opposite of what I had agreed upon. The first line of my response employed the word “sally,” suggesting making an offensive charge, like a sortie, against my office “foes” who had “besieged “ me. The second line of my response stated bluntly, “Henceforth, no more poetry,” which was clearly a statement full of irony; and the third line, the command, “Read between the lines!” invited my colleagues to look for or discover the meaning that was implied, but not explicitly stated in my response. This they all failed to do or understand; and, in their failing, did not realize that my response, a defense stance, had been to compose another poem. Such is the nature of irony! 

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Written on April 11, 1976

Submitted by karlcfolkes on December 18, 2021

Modified on March 05, 2023

4 sec read

Quick analysis:

Scheme AAB
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 71
Words 14
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 3

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1995 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s “Dear Mili” Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

All Karl Constantine FOLKES poems | Karl Constantine FOLKES Books

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Discuss the poem "Defense Stance" with the community...

  • Ndougherty
    Blessings to Mr Karl- a brilliant mind and talented writer!!!
    LikeReply1 year ago
  • Elcortes
    Great! Really enjoyed this insider revelation! Pa’lante!
    LikeReply1 year ago


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"Defense Stance" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Oct. 2023. <>.

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