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Oh?

Naiveté is uncontrolled,

Unchosen,

Frank, natural, wild, free –

A kind of ignorance of good nature,

Kind words, careless roaming

 

Said always as if it were meant to be broken

Upon reality, as if reality were

A hard cold rock, bound to turn an ankle

And ruin a day.

 

What is Naivety when it is chosen?

Is that possible? Can you choose to be ignorant?

Yet to choose ignorance is not of good nature,

But stubborn, willful, recalcitrant,

Far more like a steadfast ass than a leaping colt –

To choose ignorance is to be an ass,

To choose naivety is a contradiction.

 

As if I were to roam through private yards

Claiming to have never seen

All the signs of forbidding,

Claiming to be blind to the one before me,

The person saying “you have unsettled me

And frightened my children.”

 

Such a thing is for the fairies,

Cruel, unbound, and unknowable,

Their eyes full of heedless pleasure,

Their heads full of thoughtless games.

I am human, therefore I know shame.

 

And I know love. So

I will trust,

And keep my eyes open,

Offering a hand in welcome

And a hand in generosity,

A coin in the cup of a beggar,

A chair at the table --

 

Only withheld

If my person is imperiled,

Only revoked

If my friends are threatened.

 

I know people fear.

I know they are selfish in their greed,

And greedy in their fear,

And seeing a hand in friendship,

May respond with a dagger towards my heart –

 

In that moment trust is broken.

I will trust and keep my eyes open,

And, perhaps not to defend myself

And return evil for evil,

But at least to leave,

Grieving the loss of trust.

 

In all people I have faith,

For faith is that trust chosen

In spite of doubt --

A crossing of that last gap

Over which there is no bridge,

Therefore it must be leapt,

A much a trust of one's own strength

As a hope that the gap is narrow enough

To catch you safe on the other side --

 

And in my friends

The gap is not a chasm,

but a crack to be stepped over.

Here, I will sit,

Eyes closed, knowing no harm

Nor scorn will come to me,

For I am among friends,

Which is to say

I am home.

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