They Say

A poem by Lillian E. Curtis that we can all relate to! How many friends or colleagues have been hurt, maligned, or scoffed at by the far-reaching effect of spreading so-called truths? This poem, by Lillian E. Curtis, outlines the negative impacts of gossip in the form of what the infamous "they" have apparently said or done. This poem is a good reminder of several key points that everyone should be aware of throughout their life. The first should be obvious. That is to say that so-called truths are nothing more than the repetition of untruths of slanted dialogue and or of behavior. This is the same as saying that if you have not directly heard or seen something with your own eyes then one must question its' validity. Or, what you think you have heard or seen may have been taken out of context unless you have been personally involved.

The second obvious point to remember comes to mind when you ask yourself what good can come from repeating what has been spoken or observed? That is to say that passing on "good" is akin to remembering the old adage, if you can't say something good about someone else then don't say anything.

So, what are the antecedents to passing on less than truthful or proven facts or observations? Could it be that the person choosing to repeat words spoken or behaviors only wishes to demonstrate that they are somehow better than that person of which they speak? Could it be that the one choosing to repeat what someone else has crafted in the negative has inferior feelings about their own status where maligning another person helps diminish them in your eyes or those of your friends or colleagues? Whatever the reason, nothing good can result from being the conveyor of gossip. In fact, you can find that gossip is Biblically scorned; it is not the way of Godly people. So, what is the opposite of passing on the "they say" innuendos or untruths? One action is to question the source of such so-called facts. How far down the ladder of what actually took place did you receive such recounting of unproven words or actions? This point is alluded to as Lillian E. Curtis reflects in the following verses:
"They Say" rumors are ever
On the wing,
And few they are who stop to ask
Whence they spring.

Ask yourself one important question the next time you are told or overhear such unproven words or behaviors: am I going to be a conveyor of "gossip" or am I going to be a defender of finding the truth? And, ask yourself if passing on what you have heard going to help another person or is it going to hurt them? Are you going to be the end of the cycle or are you going to perpetuate the string of untruths? Each person has a significant role to play in helping to stop unnecessary and ill-advised rumors or gossip. Which side of the equation of fair, helpful, or hurtful and demeaning do you wish to be on?



They Say
by Lillian E. Curtis


"They say" is a bitter friend to all -
Old and young,
Rich and poor,
Alike to all;
Even on the most innocent
The "They Say" rumors fall.

They generally commence
Without foundation,
And touch upon those
Of every rank and every station.

"They Say" is told to an intimate friend,
And here, of course, it does not end;
Soon into another friendly ear,
The tale is poured, with a laugh and sneer,

"They Say" has blighted many a life
Has caused hatred, envy and strife;
Yet, the "They Say" rumors do not cease,
But rather continue to increase.

Could the innocent and unsuspecting
For a moment know
That "They Say" is on the go,
They would not wonder why
Old friends pass them coolly by.

"They Say" is continually causing
Sorrow, grief and woe,
And is, indeed, to all (exceptions are rare)
A bitter foe.

"They Say" rumors are ever
On the wing,
And few they are who stop to ask
Whence they spring.

Let each and every one,
To whom is told " They Say,"
Just pause, before replying,
And ask who are the "They."

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