Sunday, October 14, 2012


Throughout history the role of the "contrarian"- the usurper of accepted thoughts and customs- has often been instrumental in progressing cultures, pushing forward our understanding of our world and establishing science, or rebelling against unjust tyrannical control of the population.
Someone is first to stand up and question, or voice new ideas that are felt in the hearts of many but are too dangerous to say openly.
The "contrarian" is too often seen as a threat to the establishment, and  sadly, harsh punishment even death is the price paid for challenging beliefs.

This poem was originally a few lines written and titled as "Contrarian".
When Malala Yousafzai was shot in Pakistan for agitating for women's education, I finished the verse and retitled this as "Song For Malala." in recognition of her courage daring to speak out for change.

We must speak out! We must challenge entrenched beliefs! We must voice new, or opposing ideas!
And we must support those who show courage and do so.


I fell into disfavour long before I was conceived,
my birthing challenged all those who told you to believe.
To tyrants I was threatening, to High Priests I might thieve
all of their adherents and lead them from their knees.

From the dawning of consciousness I would threaten beliefs
I had to be silenced: I questioned our great chiefs.
They would hang me, and draw me and tie me to a stake
but this freedom of expression they could never break!

Like a child with a birthmark I was left out on the ground,
taken to the river and left there to drown.
There were some who sought freedom who stood beside me
they would see through the darkness and bring me relief.

I was once a bright blossom sprung from Winter's discord,
admired by lovers of Freedom's written word.
But there are those who'd burn libraries to destroy truth within
all means were justified to keep me locked in.

I am written in Constitutions, enshrined in law
but there are those disbelieving in all they are for.
So they will burn me through the ages, rape me with their guns
they cannot abide me: I'm obscene to their mores.

As a child through the ages I struggled to breathe
held down by the elders who would not let me speak.
I was tortured in North Berwick, I was hanged at Salem's trials,
and in this enlightened age I am here again as a child.

I am the voice of reason,
a beacon in this world
shining through the darkness:
I am known as Free Will.

Reference to North Berwick and Salem is to remind Westerners, that we have also held beliefs that resulted in persecution, torture and death of 1,000's of innocent people in our own societies.
Our own family legend has an ancestor burnt as a witch in Scotland.

malala-yousafzai shooting

Latest on Malala is she is being transferred to UK for specialist medical care.
Malala going to UK



Ravenmyth said...

Jim, this is such a powerful piece, depicting your concept of "Contrarian"...( I am the voice of reason, a beacon in theis world, shining through the darkness: I am known as Free Will)

It is truly inspired.

The ending wraps it all up and drives it home with a passion. For me, it is literary genious....Always dear friend...

Ravenmyth said...

Jim, the words woven here have depicted your concept of "Contrarian"..bringing life to the meaning.

I am the voice of reason, a beacon in this world, shining through the darkness, I am known as Free Will.

This is literay genious ...bringing the words woven full cirlce and driving it home in your ending with such passion. Brilliant...Always Dear Friend...

Jim said...

Genius? Wow, coming from You Raven Myth- a writer of great unique ability to express concepts, that is a real honour for me.
Thank you.

Yeah, I often question the consensus, whether right or wrong, and admire others who stand against the wrongful mass, rather than shut up from fear.
Malala needs support and may we never forget her!

Jude said...

Beautiful, evocative and strong, Jim. For Malala indeed! and all girl children struggling to be free of oppression and patriarchy!

Jim said...

Thanks Jude. For Malala and all who challenge us to look at our beliefs in an effort to better everyone, and everything.

Neneng Tarigan said...

I burst into tears reading this poem, Jim. You depicted her agony very clearly in your poem. Yes, she must be very lonely there fighting alone and defending what she believed as right, before they had taken her life. She will be remembered by many of us; no doubt about it!

Neneng Tarigan said...

I didn't follow the current development of her condition since my tv is broken and has not yet been fixed. Does she make it. Jim? I hope she will be fully recovered soon! Such a brave girl!

Jim said...

Hi Neneng, thanks for caring and sharing.
She is being transferred to UK for treatment.

Anonymous said...

I agree, it is genius. You are bringing awareness to an important issue. Thank-you.

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

Jim she will return - again and again and again! Till the contrarian becomes the populous and the people who hanged her a numerous times have to run and hide! She lives through me and hundreds of women who had stood by her beliefs - How many will they kill???

Jim said...

Thanks Pam, she's the one bringing awareness that is long overdue there!

Jim said...

Hi Hillary, thanks for that comment, loved hearing that!

Jim said...

"She lives through me and hundreds of women who had stood by her beliefs"
Thanks Kriti, so true!

S. Susan Deborah said...

A thousand Malalas will spring forth. I cannot imagine that in this 21st century, things like this can happen. Your poem moved me to tears and I am shocked and worried about the cruelty meted out to woman.

Joy always,

Anonymous said...

this is really the voice of reason! It is so powerful because it is straight from the heart!!
Thank you, dear Mr.Jim, thank you very much for speaking out so clearly.