Writer’s Island is having a free write (no prompt) month during NaPoWriMo, but a poem I read yesterday started an idea—I guess that counts as a prompt. Then, after reading the paper today, I began feeling a little hostile; so this is for day six.

by Mike Patrick

Flickr image by Nicola Carboy

I was born to an ethic where
responsibility was sought.
Prosperity or failure
was owned by the one responsible.

I was born to an ethic where
a handshake was all the contract needed.
Deals were made on a street corner,
and if losses were incurred,
debts were paid without whining.

I was born to an ethic where
a man’s word was connected to his honor,
and it was better to face death than dishonor.
Once broken, honor could never be restored
and the community turned its back.

I was born to an ethic where
swearing an oath on the Bible pledged one’s very soul.
It was a sacred contract between a man and his God,
not ending even upon death.

Not many feel that way anymore.
Times have changed so quickly.
Deals now require a boardroom,
seven Philadelphia lawyers,
and are worthless upon signing,
but I was born to an ethic.

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9 Responses to BORN TO AN ETHIC

  1. 1sojournal says:

    I am so in agreement. That sense of responsibility has so dimmed, it’s almost unseeable, let alone known,


  2. Tip back to the old way. There are still people who live according to your ethic, absolutely. One handshake at a time, we may go back to that.

    I am convinced of it.

    Great to find you via Writer’s Island NaPoWriMo celebration!

  3. Nothing sacred any more, but for those of us who have standards, we should stick with them.
    Great post!

  4. Tilly Bud says:

    It’s so sad that this is now lost.

  5. vivinfrance says:

    Mike, though we are both realists, and know how bad things have become, I still have the feeling that there are enough right-thinking people to turn things around.

  6. Ron. says:

    Attention must be paid, eh?

  7. andy sewina says:

    Yeah, how things have changed, but like the self-made millionaire said, he didn’t have any money worries until he became rich.

  8. earlybird says:

    A realistic comment on our society. ‘My word is my bond’ no longer exists, I agree.

  9. trisha says:

    i too was sadly born to that ethic (or proudly?) we belong to endangered species but i prefer keeping that “Ethic” and applauding it openly.

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