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A Mary T. Hoffman Commentary from


"Joyful Curmudgeon" An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.


FACES Ė 2 July 2006
By Mary T. Hoffman

I just finished reading Tammy C. Smithís excellent poem FACES, and was so touched by the truth expressed in it, that I want to share it with you.

by Tammy C. Smith
[email protected] 

I see you looking at me
There are so many of you
Night after night you show up
Watching me do what I do

I see you looking at me
And I can hear you laughing
I see your bright smiling faces
I smell candy youíre eating

I see you looking at me
Sitting in your seats paid for
By MasterCard or Visa
Cheering, clapping, wanting more

I see you looking at me
As I march into the ring
The lights are hot, bright, intense
I sweat while Iím performing

I see you looking at me
As I leap through hoops of flame
Iím too afraid to NOT jump
That black whip does know my name

I see you looking at me
As you call for my return
It frightens me but I go
Three nights ago I was burned

I see you looking at me
Did you notice my belly
My burns have been covered up
Taped over so you canít see

I see you looking at me
I come back for your applause
But I am tired; my day was long
And tonight Iíve cut my paw

I see you looking at me
As I watch you leave I hear
You speak of my talent and
Your plans to come back next year

I see you looking at me
But I wonder do you see
The real me: not talented
Performing from FEAR only

I see you looking at me
Does it ever cross your mind
A creature that should be free
Wished for a circus to find

I see you looking at me
But itís not really me you know
Youíve been a captive audience
And you wave to me as you go
As I remain the captive one
Untalented yet frightened so
Of the black whip he keeps close by
Am I property, friend or foe
The curtain falls: back to my cage
Iíll perform again tomorrow
With wounds of flesh and time that hurt
American Express sorrow
This circus life Iíve lived so long
With stolen peace begged and borrow
From faces I see looking at me because on must go the show
I see you looking at meÖ

Tammy expresses the anguish and the emotional pain of this big cat and the indifference of humans who pay to watch her forced, painful circus performance. These humans have no regard for this animalís God-given right to be free, and to not be subjected to the wickedness of human beings. As the Bible says in Proverbs 12:10:

10 The righteous regards the life of his animal;
But the mercies of the wicked are cruel.

For a biography of Tammy C. Smith and more of her poems, please see:

Go on to: Selling Out Ė 3 July 2006
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