Willa Cather once wrote, “Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness.  The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is.

This is a thing I’ve been trying to do in my poetry, I think.  Refining that “sense of truthfulness” is really all about asking whether I’m dancing around blathering bullshit  or actually standing there, flat-footed, talking true.

Talking true gets harder, I am finding, as I unpack the layers of meaning surrounding any event or experience.  And what was true yesterday turns to bullshit very easily when you are good at playing with words.  Truth shifts, deepens or gets shallow, as you do.

This YouTube video by Inspire Others shows one way of talking true….

There are many others.

My own take on all this is that “true” changes.  And maybe that’s why there are so many truths – some of them directly contradicting others.  It’s all incredibly dizzy-making.

What’s even more confusing is that it does, finally, come down to a choice.  You choose your truths and what you choose refines and defines you and the way you walk.

Here’s a poem about that one….



Yeah, I know.

I have an “overly optimistic view” about the nature of humans,

And that makes me “unrealistic” – quote, unquote.


It’s a deliberate choice, you know.

I choose light.

I choose warm.

I choose together.


‘Cause lemme tell ya,

I’ve known cold.

I’ve known dark.

I’ve known apart.

It sucks.

I choose not to go there.


I have seen the lips of a stone-cold killer warrior

Warm into a quiet smile.

I have seen the eyes of a corporate predator

Turn gentle in the sun.

And I have seen the face of a lost one

Brighten in the belonging as we walk each other home,

And that makes my own heart fly.


So I’ll just go on choosing this way –

The one with heart.

I’ll walk it strong.

I’ll keep it true.


Yeah, maybe it’s delusional.

(At least, that’s what the smarty-pants say,

Sniggering in their superior knowledge

Of what they tell me is the “real”

About being human.)


They can have their cold and dark.

They can keep their lone-dog snarly biting.

They can chew on the nettles in their minds.

Me, I’m over it.

I like mines bettah!

 By Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  Shöpfung = Creation by Lif via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you…)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.


20 thoughts on “REFINING TRUTH

  1. Beautiful poem Netta,

    Like you I believe that ‘truth’ changes constantly as well and it becomes so much harder to capture because of the world of lies that we currently live in. The video that you have chosen has very deep, underlying meanings.

    It must be really hard to write poetry, what techniques do you use?

    Live and Light,

    1. Hey Vivia…

      I do thank you for your visit and your comments.

      Actually, poetry is really very, very easy to do. Some of the best poets I know are little kids who love to string words together and play with them. The hard part is shutting down your mind and letting your heart talk.

      Most adult poets spend a lot of time trying to get monkey-mind to shut up long enough to give their hearts the room to say the real.

      In the video on the post, listen to the street guy free-flowing. Whatever else Braddah-man is doing, he is speaking his heart and speaking his truth. Both of the musicians in the video are true poets. I found it awesome that the filming crew respected and recorded the moment.

      Please do come again…and I urge you: pick up your pencil, listen to your heart, write. You will be amazed.

  2. jettaranda says:

    Your writing is phenomenal. I think poetry is like an understanding of the self-soul.

    Whenever someone writes poetry, you can easily feel how it emanates from the very deep.

    I would say people who write poetry also feel very deeply as well. The youtube videos seem to bring that across as well.

    My poetry skills are limited to trying to make words rhyme, sometimes I can’t even do that.

    1. Hey Jetta, thanks for your visit and your comments. My own thought is that the words don’t have to rhyme…the feelings do. You’re already doing that well…. Please come again….

  3. That poem really resonated with me! I LOVE it. I am constantly thinking about how we all have our own truths. And sometimes being the one who is outside the “norm” of what most people believe can be a lonely place, but better than not thinking for myself and choosing my own path.

    I will visit your site again!

    1. Ashley, I thank you for your kind words. Please do come again….

  4. Crystal Doc says:

    I love your poems. They are so open and honest. I can feel your true self emanating through your words.

    I too find the truth to be very illusive. What is truth? I think each person has their own truth and your choice do not have to be your truth.

    Sometimes you think you are walking in your truth only to realize one day that you are living a complete lie. If you listen to “logic” every step of the way you are bound to start living a lie.

    The logical way to everyone else might not be what your heart leaps at. I say live by your own logic. Let your heart shine the light to guide you on your way. Then maybe, just maybe, you will be closer to your truth.

    I choose light
    I choose warm
    I choose together

    Thank you for another great poem and sharing true art. I love the video. Very real.

    1. Hey Crystal Doc:

      Thanks for your visit and for your thoughts.  I agree:  “live by your own logic” is a grand mantra!

      Please do come again.

  5. Very good perspective Netta. There is a lot of truth to this. As I do feel that I too have a hard time in keeping truthful. Especially after you critically think through each perspective. Then add in the “consequences” of not being truthful vs being truthful. In the end the act of not being truthful comes down the the critical thinking of the mind and how well that individuals ethics are.

    1. Hey Cut:

      Thanks for your visit.  You’re right.  It can be hard sometimes to cop to the truth.  It works out better when you do, though.

      Please do come again….

  6. Lynne Huysamen says:

    You are so right, there are many versions of the truth and while we may believe something to be true it may in fact not be since we are so good at denial. This is something that I have learned the hard way in my life since I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict and spent a good 15 years of my life swallowed by my own bullshit. 

    I am always in the process of uncovering the truth, about myself, about the way that I perceive the word and the way that I present myself to the world. I am constantly changing as a person, I can only hope for the better. 

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your story, Lynne.  This world is a learning place all right!

      One time my late husband Fred got furious at me when I told him that.  He sent me off into gales of laughter when I solemnly told him that Life and this world are a school for us humans.  

      “NOT!”  he roared,  “It better not be.  If it is, then I’m gonna flunk out!”  

      Us humans sure are slow learners.  The thing is, though, we do keep trying to do better.  And that’s a good thing.

      Please do come again.

  7. Netta – I like the poem, and I generally don’t like poetry because of people dancing around and trying to turn what they are trying to say into a metaphorical guessing game.  I like this because it is direct.  I know where you are coming from I like where you go with it.  Being true to yourself is always hard to do because there is no blueprint for how your truth will change.

    Our world today can change with the blink of an eye.  A spouse dies – a child is disabled – a building falls.  Events change how we see things and affect what we turn into and it is always good to have a well established truth as a baseline to return to.

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Colby.  

      You’re right.  Knowing what your truths are is truly a valuable baseline.  Knowing that other people have their own truths that are not necessarily the ones you hold to is a way to get past the inevitable misunderstandings and conflicts that are likely to occur when truths collide and the shouting starts.  

      Please do come again….

  8. Your poem has been very insightful. I find it hard for people to accept the truth, so bringing the reason for its existence into the limelight is amazing. 

    I usually speak my truth to persons and I always stay true to who I am. However, I know some people find that hard to do but your article to me feels like it gives us permission to do so.

    So carry on Netta giving us all the insights to reflect on our own selves, keeping us in check. Speak your hard truth!!!

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  You make me smile!

      Please do come again.

  9. Alex Chivers says:

    Hi again, I wanted to read another one of your posts as it is so amazing! 

    Where you put, “Willa Cather once wrote, “Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness.  The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is.” 

    Got me wanting to read more and more of your work. Well done!

    1. Alex, thanks again for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.

      I’m glad you are enjoying my posts.

  10. Hi, I am a fan of your poetry!!!! You have a new follower in me.

    What a nice piece of art you created! It´s never easy to use the correct words, and regarding truth, you totally made it!
    Read it with my wife and we almost teared with each word we read!

    Phenomenal work!

    1. Welcome back, Johnny.  I always love getting a new fan!

      Please do come again.

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