Theodore Roethke

Reply to Censure

Repulse the staring eye,
The hostile gaze of hate,
And check the pedantry
Of those inveterate

Defamers of the good.
They mock the deepest thought,
Condemn the fortitude
Whereby true work is wrought.

Though just men are reviled
When cravens cry them down,
The brave keep undefiled
A wisdom of their own.

The bold wear toughened skin
That keeps sufficient store
Of dignity within,
And quiet at the core.

spoken = Heather C. Liston