“The Legend of Harry Temple” by Gary R. Hess – A Slam Poem

THE LEGEND OF HARRY TEMPLE
by Gary R. Hess

The legend of Harry Temple
is distinguished by
his overcoming of platitudes
we far too often see today.

You see,
Harry Temple,
like many young men, was shy.
He spent his evenings and weekends alone,
wishing to connect and live
a normal life,
but in the end,
having no one to stand by.

As Harry grew,
he realized life wasn’t what he expected.
He looked around
and saw desolation of everything he knew,
or, at least thought he knew.

Pain was not Harry’s weakness, though.
Pain was his asset.
He took this pain into his hands
and looked at it.
He examined it.
He contemplated how
his life can change
and change how he wanted it to be different
if all he could do is fight.
Fight the thoughts.
Fight the embarrassment.
Fight the social barriers
that we all know and we all hate
but we all still abide.

He begun forcing himself
into these new situations
of accustomed embarrassment
and awkwardness.

When he felt the sense
of stopping, he pushed forward.
When he felt embarrassed
he still looked down
but this time he still stayed.
He didn’t leave.
He didn’t give up.
He pushed through.

Harry Temple was a bright man,
one of the brightest men.
He would spend his nights
thinking of what could be different
and what he did wrong.
He spent his nights
thinking of social expectations.
Thinking of what others wanted.

But as he spent these
months and years changing,
he finally realized:
why is it important?
why did he change?
Yes, he has friends,
he isn’t alone,
and he is contented,
but for what reason does
society decide who he is?

This smart young man reflected.
He reflected on the times he spent
changing to be who he isn’t.
Who he thought he should be.
Who he knew society wanted him to be.
But life is short.
Life is too short to complain
about our own weaknesses,
our own desires.
We cannot seek to be perfect
nor should we seek to be anything
other than ourselves.
But when we are shy,
we are told constantly
that we must change.
We are outcasted.
We are lambasted for being different.
For being alone.
For not being apart of
the parties, the activities.
“Life”.
But that is theirs.
And this wasn’t Harry’s.

Harry was a man
who liked to be alone at times
but still wanted to be with
others he loved
and those he was fond of.
He didn’t care about the parties,
activities or other side shows
he was forced to attend.
He cared about friendship,
about solitude,
and about loving those
the same way he loved himself.
But society hated it.
Society hates those who disagree
with the majority.
But Harry,
but Harry begun not to care.
Harry begun to change again
and again he did change.
But this time his self-esteem
was high and his mind strong.
He now had friends
and he now had courage
to not only talk within society
but also to stand up against it.
Harry backed away from the social scene
and his true happiness returned.
He had his solitude.
He had his friends.
He was now Harry Temple.

Gary R. Hess

Gary was born and raised on a small farm in rural Kansas. Today, he is teaching various nationalities English in Southeast Asia.

Leave a Reply