Updated date:

Caustic Defenses

Shannon is a passionate individual whose feelings and thoughts tend spill onto the pages, often in the form of poetry and sometimes essays.


Self defense is necessary

But when it becomes an eyrie

Could it be we're too blind to see

What's missing from this place of peace?

Ready to strike down an enemy

Always on alert, or so it seems

For the slightest sign of disrespect

Armor clad and able to deflect

Any punch or jab that’s thrown

Even those imaginary blows

Unafraid of confrontation or a fight

One quick jab left then swing right

Block an opponent's unintended shove

Hit back harder but without a glove

Caustic defenses are all well and good

When things work out like they should

But sometimes we’re the ones who lose

When we must live with what we choose

Are there ways to right a mistake

We may not even know we’ve made?

Perhaps it’s just an unintended side effect

Of defending against what we should protect


Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on August 05, 2019:

Yes, I can see how that happens.

Robert Sacchi on August 05, 2019:

Yes, I know one person like that in an office can ruin the office's atmosphere.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on August 04, 2019:

Hi Robert,

Yes, it's about being too defensive. In fact, what I had in mind when I wrote it was two people who could otherwise get along missing out on a worthwhile relationship because both sides were too defensive with one another. . . .Seems to me it happens too often. Such a sad demise.

Robert Sacchi on August 04, 2019:

A cautionary poem about being too defensive.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on October 17, 2018:

Thanks, Natalie. :) I appreciate you for stopping by to read. Glad you find it meaningful, too.

Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on October 17, 2018:

Your words are so true and so beautifully presented. We obviously need to defend ourselves at times. Yet constantly being on the defensive leads us to perceive every action as a slight and every word as an insult. Thanks for such a meaningful poem.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on September 21, 2018:

Unfortunately, I know what you mean. Relatives are the hardest to avoid, I think. Or at least the saddest.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 21, 2018:

Hypervigilant is what I have learned to call them. People who are hypervigilant, looking for any excuse to be offended tend to carry a lot of emotional baggage, but they won't be carrying it on my time if I can help it. Reason is: as comforting and understanding as I may be of their pain, eventually, I'll be clobbered by the bags they carry when they turn them into weapons, probably when I least expect. Sometimes, however, we can't escape these people easily, as we may work with them, live next door to them, or be related to them.

Suzie from Carson City on September 19, 2018:

Angie....Did not mean to confuse you. "At work," yes, because I respond to requests for "substitute staffing," when someone must be off for a short period of time, (vacations, health-related, maternity leave, etc.) This is strictly at my own discretion. Depending what's going on in my life, I may or may not choose to cover. I hesitate to refuse because they pay me an insane amount of money.....& do you know anyone who refuses $$$?? I don't.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on September 18, 2018:

No, Paula, I don't mind. Or should I say that it's okay. Kids are pretty awesome that way. And it's funny now that I think about it because efforts I made to confront fears somehow compounded them. Maybe because I do have a tendency to over think almost everything.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on September 18, 2018:

AB, you'd be surprised how many kid movies I watch and enjoy. But that is one I have not seen yet. I'll have to check it out. Sounds like good advice, too.

A B Williams from Central Florida on September 18, 2018:

Happy to help Paula! At work? Never mind, we can talk about that later. I will check my mail.

You are right about Toy Story....there's a lot of garbage that passes for entertainment, but there are some great inspirational movies as well, not only for our kids/grandkids, but for all of us.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on September 18, 2018:

Yes, Paula, that's part of my intended message here. We can also teach others to be wary of us unnecessarily. If we're always on the look out for a need to defend, we will see disrespect and rudeness when none was intended and thus respond accordingly. It's damaging and it often goes both ways between people. We don't have to be a doormat to be more aware because the opposite of being a doormat is being too tough when it isn't necessary. We often tell others to check their own behavior and reactions without stopping to check our own. We can tell people don't treat me like that while treating them like that. That contributes to the "bullshit", as you called it. And that is a conviction I will stand by. It's a shame but I guess it is what it is. And that is what I was thinking about when I wrote this.

That thing is Rocky. He's a ferret. I never wanted one because they are so expensive and he's a bit of a handful, but he was given to my kids. Now I am kind of attached to him.

As far as I know, only people or topics followed show up in the feed.

Suzie from Carson City on September 18, 2018:

Hope it's OK to talk about grandchildren on this thread.....If not, I guess you can shoo it away.

Angie....Yet another PLUS for having grandchildren! Some of the best movies I've watched with the best morals and most inspiration, are movies I've watched with my grandchildren at their request. I truly enjoy them enough to see them repeatedly! I can give you the script, word for word of Toy Story!! LOL. I have dreams about Woody & Buzz Lightyear!!

I definitely need to see "The Good Dinosaur!" You have touched on a major MAJOR issue for combating mental confusion & doubt.......Do not overthink it! Do not overthink anything!

Am at work right now.....I think I'll use this lesson in my class today! I love you. You saved me scrounging for topic matter!! I refuse to overthink! LOL. (Did U check UR email? Sent U a surprise.)

A B Williams from Central Florida on September 18, 2018:

No, it does, but this is going to really seem weird....stick with me.

Have you seen the movie, 'The Good Dinosaur'?

I love this animated movie (hey...I have grandkids ;))

Check it out, if you've never seen it Shannon.

One of the lines is, "Don't overthink it",

another line, "Sometimes you gotta get through your fears, to see the beauty on the other side".

The premise of the movie is confronting our fears, in order to find out what we are truly made of and capable of.

Did I mention that I love this movie? ;) I may have to write a hub, has probably already been done.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on September 18, 2018:

Hi there, AB. Thanks for connecting with it. I'm discovering that I am quick to forgive others and very slow to forgive myself, especially if I make the same mistakes again. Everyone will say just go forward, but no one wants to take time to get to the bottom of what really prevents that from happening. In my case, I think I just discovered some of the reasons for my personal defenses when someone asked me if I love myself. Sure I do. I even like most things about myself. So why then am I so hard on myself? Why then do I take the negative things others I trust say about me to heart? And then why should I care if personality clashes and different perspectives mean letting those people go. A side effect of defending what I should instead of against it. OK. Maybe that response makes no sense to you. Sorry. Lol

Suzie from Carson City on September 18, 2018:

"We TEACH people how to treat us." You can take a stand for your convictions, refuse to be used, abused, harassed and bullied.....or you can fall to the ground like a door mat. (Good luck with that)

All you need is the common sense and self-respect God gave a gnat to know when, where, how and why to be a person of substance. Worrying about how someone else will translate your convictions is a waste of precious time, not to mention your intelligence.

If anyone, you surely should know how far people can be pushed before they do the right thing and save their own sanity. There's a cure for alleged "hurt feelings."......we grow a spine.

OK, I give up. What IS that "thing" you're holding up to your face?? A stuffed animal (toy) ? A large mouse? a ferret? a mole? What the HELL is that??

I would not have seen this if you hadn't asked me to read it. You're just not showing in my thread for some reason. I'm not on here often enough or long enough to look into these minor annoyances anymore. Things at HP change daily anyway. Off to the clinic.....where I actually teach people how to fend off bull$hit!

A B Williams from Central Florida on September 18, 2018:

Hi Shannon,

Great job on this! It is speaking to me today!

I am so laid back, never looking for a fight (verbally or physically) but when one finds me, I have a very difficult time distancing myself from it and just walking away.

We were raised that way. Don't start trouble, but if trouble finds you, stand your ground and we knew our Parents would have our backs.

There's laid back and there's passive pushovers. The latter, I'm not! :)

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on September 16, 2018:

Thanks, Pamela. Dealing with pushy people is difficult, yes. But I can also be that pushy person when I'm in defense mode. I suppose this poem applies to both sides of the aisle.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 16, 2018:

Shannon, This is such an interesting poem when I think of your comments on my article a little while ago. Dealing with pushy people or ones that push you to your limits is difficult. I really enjoyed this poem and can read a lot into those words. Well done.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on September 14, 2018:

Yes, Gypsy, they do. Treat others as you want to be treated versus treat others as they treat you. I don't know if one is better than the other. Seems to me they can both blind us. Maybe blindness is ignorance and ignorance is bliss. Walls are walls, I suppose, no matter. Both an asset and possibly self-defeating, too. Thank you for stopping by tonight.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on September 14, 2018:

Most creative we all do what we can to protect ourselves and many build an imaginary wall around themselves.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on September 13, 2018:

LOL, Eric. I think everyone is caustic to a degree. Don't we learn it as kids when we're taught how to handle bullies? It's learned so that people don't hurt us or walk all over us. I just wonder how many people are kept away by those kinds of remarks that could otherwise become a good friend.

I had someone tell me once when I didn't want anything to do with someone else that she could have been my best friend and I'd never know now. I replied that my best friends don't lie to me, spread rumors about me, or steal from me. All things this other woman did. Just saying, seems like we should know when someone truly is hostile and when they aren't. But we don't always.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 13, 2018:

Really well done. Really fine art. But then again I was a trial lawyer for a decade and caustic was damned in front of 12 jurors. Both my wives were/are caustic to a degree -- probably rightfully lol. It is strange they both love me still.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on September 12, 2018:

In my opinion, to call a writer's work impactful is quite a compliment, Manatita. Thank you. It's actually quite humbling, though. Isn't that what most of us hope to do? Make a difference somehow. And then I suppose I'm always hardest on myself, so for you to leave a comment like that - it just makes me stop in my tracks. Thanks again.

manatita44 from london on September 12, 2018:

Lovely and impactful piece. Our defense is mostly self- protective. We are creatures of habit and use what we deem best to help us get by.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on September 11, 2018:

Thank you, Rinita. I appreciate that description of my work.

Rinita Sen on September 10, 2018:

Your poetry is always gritty and practical, also uplifting and questioning at the same time. Love this piece.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 10, 2018:

John or Jodah is fine by me here, Shannon/Shanmarie lol. Yes, you are right that the situation is different when it involves friends or family, rather than strangers.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on September 10, 2018:

Yes and no, John. (I almost called you Jodah. LOL. Guess you'd answer to both here, though.) Personal experiences aside, have you ever watched two people argue or listened to both sides of a story and you can clearly see the miscommunication happening, but there's not much you can do to right the situation? Someone says something that wasn't necessarily intended for offense and the other person misinterprets the words or takes offense to it for some other reasons all their own and then it just goes down hill from there. Two strangers can let it be what it is, maybe grumble and complain about it from their perspective to someone else, and then let it go. But when it's two friends or family members the divide is not always crossed so easily. We feel good for standing up for ourselves, but I wondered how often we miss an opportunity for special bonds or friendships because defenses fly, unnecessarily protecting ourselves from perceived blows that were not meant to be attacks in the first place. And that is basically the inspiration behind this.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 10, 2018:

It sounds like some personal conflict may have inspired this Shannon, am I right? I recall someone (probably Jesus) once espousing that we should "turn the other cheek" as a best response. Sometimes that is easier said than done. Some of us seem to be always ready to quickly defend ourselves in case of attack, as though we are expecting to be challenged or abused in every situation. Maybe society has caused that, but I feel it is a wrong state of mind. We should always be expecting the best from people and situations..then if they disappoint us so be it, and we can deal with it.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on September 10, 2018:

Very true, Dana. Except that I would say that it isn't just hurting people who hurt others with defensive responses.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on September 10, 2018:

Self-defense is very necessary. You must protect your body but also you must protect your mind. Hurting people who refuse to get help always hurt others but you are correct we must find a way to protect ourselves with out putting on our own gloves.

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on September 10, 2018:

Hey, whatever works for you, Bill. LOL. That's what I like about song lyrics and poetry. Although, this was inspired by personal thoughts this time. Or should I say thoughts geared more toward the individual. For instance, I can be very defensive, often when I don't need to be. I see it on HP quite a bit, too. Especially when people talk about political issues...... So yeah, maybe you are right on track. LOL..... The thing is, I have learned that I can let down my own walls, but I can't scale someone else's and it does little good if I let someone else in only to be kept out on their side of the divide.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 10, 2018:

For some reason this makes me think of Ghandi and passive protest, or Martin Luther King. I'm probably way off buy hey, I've said for years, poetry pushes me to my limits. lol

Shannon Henry (author) from Texas on September 10, 2018:

I don't know what it is you see, Clive, but thanks for the visit and for finding deep meaning.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on September 10, 2018:

Deep..I see a lot through this.

Related Articles