Hand over mouth Mensa laugh
Elitism, unlike battling upward,
hand over hand,
always mindful of tragic lessons.
Courtesy and respect — never forget.
In courts of old, fair
maids and noble men knew
‘twas best to conceal
animal cunning, raw humanity
in expected flourishes and restraint.
Semaphore signaling: we’re in on the game.
Then there is respect in earnest.
That flicker of sentient
strength, if I am smart,
perceived behind the mask
of court or street corner.
Hard knocks do not necessitate a fighter.
Hard times do not empower a solid leader.
Surviving, surveying the angles,
combining shrewdness and compassion
in deciding action,
honed edge keen and deadly,
improve chances
for ascent to spotlight, to public commendation.
Neither inherent fate nor exotic experience,
but some essence common to both
may blend in those so chosen to precede.

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