The Limits of Optimism


I believe in the Power

of Optimism, the Hippy Girl told me.

Really? I replied, Personally

I prefer the Power of Witchcraft.

In general I find Magick to be

a far more efficacious force

than mere Psychology,

tho to be sure there are those

who maintain that the Power

of both Magick and Optimism

derive from the same source,

dubbed, somewhat dismissively,

as the Placebo Effect,

a Phenomenon most often seen to occur

when the attending Witch-Doctor

prescribes a Substance that has no actual effect

(generally most of them)

whilst simultaneously claiming

that it’s a Wonder Drug.

And Lo! Miracle of Miracles!

The Patient gets better anyway,

apparently for no better reason

than because they believe they will,

and if that isn’t a clear vindication

of the Principles of Magick

I’ll eat my pointy Wizard’s Hat!

So you should be an Optimist then

the wilting Flower Child insisted.

I sighed, You’ve got to remember

there are limits to Optimism

(or Magick or whatever) sure

it’s a Plastic Universe that

you can work on with your Will,

but there are Other Forces

moulding it at the same time

and many of them

are much more powerful than you/

it’s like trying to put a Curse

on Donald Trump /a futile exercise you

may as well try and Curse

the Devil! He has whole teams

of evil shamans, head-hunters

& bean-counters working for him,

surrounding him like

a swirling tank of sharks,

against such Powers

your feeble force availeth not.

Better to focus what little Optimism

you can raise on your small corner of the World

where it can have some effect

and you can do some Good.

It’s not given us little folk the power

to affect the Big Picture,

except for those rare moments in History

where everything hangs for a moment in the balance

and an individual in an act of Devotio

can change the course of events,

but hey! Even on those occasions

when the slumbering Body Politic wakes up

and rips off it’s tyrannical Head of State,

usually the first thing it does is grow two more.

Who go to War. Till there is  One. And then

the whole process starts over again. I tell you

Humans are worse than the Frogs

who wanted a King.

And thus my young Fairy-Friend flew off,

shaking her head at the Cynicism of the Old,

whilst I was moved to write the following poem

no doubt motivated in part,

 by my Subconscious Envy

of her Bright and Sunny Outlook;




“Oh I wish I was an Optimist,

How Happy I would be!

I’d see a bright and shiny Future

Stretch in front of Me,

Confident my Fears will fade

And Progress will advance,

That Good will triumph over Evil,

 And Snakes will learn to Dance.”





The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet,

President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity,

and an Ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanism

AND the Church of the Universe.

In 2017 he was presented with the Paul Sherman Community Service Award

for encouraging Lunatics to attend poetry readings.



~ by reverendhellfire on October 22, 2017.

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