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Leland Waldrip

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Member Since: Aug, 2001

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Altruism Anyone?
by Leland Waldrip
Rated "G" by the Author.
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In the absence of the capability to read minds, this is only a statement of opinion. But think about it.



A man risks his life to save a stranger,

A woman assists in spite of the danger,

Another gives vastly to those in need,

Or goes into the ghetto the poor to feed.


A name they have for this happy deed, 

They call it altruism, and on it feed

Hopes and dreams of the human race,

Thoughts of nobility and random grace.


But before we lay the matter to rest,

We need to examine, put it to test.

When call to altruism is what we heed,

Does it primarily satisfy inner need?

Hypothesis: altruism is trade, wholly,

Of values between the parties solely.    


An act of giving and expecting no gain,

Beneath the surface is not quite sane,

No legal contract where all must gain

Nevertheless, all parties will remain

Gainers when the trade is through,

And all do what they separately do.


Of each case we ask, is altruism real?

What will the giver get with the deal?

Many is the veiled prize awarded,

And not necessarily bad or sordid.


Recipient gains life or money or food, 

While the giver--this is not to be rude-- 

Satisfies basic gut instinct or fears,

To rise in esteem among his peers.


Or wealth, ill gotten, to assuage a guilt

Over accumulated fortune badly built.

Atone for inheritance his family gave,

Or simply to enjoy the public rave.


What of his risk, with nothing to gain,

Where the hero suffers severe pain?

It’s the impulse of commitment made,

That sets the deal and issues the grade,   


For even if there’s no suspicion lent,

The hero may have a genetic bent

To add to society a trait that appeals,

And satisfy his want to meet ideals. 

So a transaction is definitely made,

Both gain something from the trade.


May seem callous at a higher level,

But it’s small details that hide the devil.

Of folks: there’re six billion or more.

Agendas: an equal number to explore.  

And each agenda will have its way,

Simply won’t function without its pay.


When each case is marked and weighed

Between the parties debt’s been paid,

Call it altruism to slake a social thirst,

But know it’s a trade foremost and first.


R. Leland Waldrip 






Rappahannock Books
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Reviewed by The Smoking Poet 7/24/2003
Leland, you've put to poetry a theory I've long debated with others... is there truly such a thing as altruism? I tend to agree with you: there is not. And yet... when I gave birth to my child, perhaps then I felt for the first time in my life what it was to be suddenly capable of dying a thousand deaths for this new life - and wish for more to give. What was in it for me? Except, of course, I realized... there is no emotion more selfish than unconditional love... for nothing gives US greater pleasure.
Reviewed by Kay P Devenish 7/6/2003
Thought provoking poem.
(Contentious too and debatable but all in all
most probably very true.)
Best wishes
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 7/6/2003

excellent, thought provoking write--well done!

(((HUGS))) and love,

karla. :)
Reviewed by Leland Waldrip 7/6/2003
It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another
without helping himself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Reviewed by Vesna Blueflame 7/6/2003 for thought when thought is food...
nice write....

Reviewed by La Belle Rouge (Reader) 7/6/2003
Well penned and thought provoking.
Reviewed by Zenith Elliott 7/6/2003
Very well done..people should do and give from their heart with nothing expected in return. ~Z~
Reviewed by Birdie Houston 7/6/2003
This is for sure a masterpiece
Reviewed by Melissa Rives 7/6/2003
Point well taken, very thought-provoking piece!
Reviewed by Sandie Angel 7/6/2003
There are indeed in some places of our hearts that in giving towards others who are less fortunate is a gain in happiness for ourselves. Well, at least I see it that way. Not all of us think the same...

It cannot be measured in monetary value.
Only the gainer knows it true value.

Like sadness
It cannot be measured in monetary terms either
Only the bearer knows it true value.

How shallow
would the world be
If we must measure everything in value of money.

May Lu a.k.a. Sandie Angel :o)
Reviewed by D.J. Ludlow 7/6/2003
Wonderfully and insightfully done Leland.

Dr Phil would be proud ("what's YOUR payoff?" as he is wont to say so often) :-)

Thanks for the trade (Think we might have got the better end of the deal on this one but it does deserve a good payoff:-))

Pure aultruism is indeed rarer than we think.

Reviewed by Dale Clark 7/6/2003
Gives one pause to consider their life! Great write!
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 7/6/2003
absolutely outstanding Leland...something to chew on!!

Reviewed by Jenni Kalicharan 7/6/2003
Well said!! Food for thought!!
Reviewed by Bianca Boonstra 7/6/2003
Well written.
Reviewed by Erin Kelly-Moen 7/5/2003
:D Wow, I love this, Leland!!! I'm thinking...maybe we are all traders, of one sort or another, even us Poets! This is a Masterful piece, and a pondering read.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor (Reader) 7/5/2003
Agree with, Ted. Must be that 4th of July beer I had. [smiles]
Reviewed by *********** ********** (Reader) 7/5/2003
Very, very, well written...A poem to bathe oneself much to soak up....Ty for this one.....Dani
Reviewed by Linda Hill 7/5/2003
Excellent, my friend..
My thanks lies in a
smile ..or maybe a
handshake..or even a hug.
Bless you for this write.

Reviewed by Susan de Vegter 7/5/2003
Grace needs no thanks for the deeds that are from the heart. Grace is an exceptional value that exposes itself as the heart yearns for others. No thanks ever needed just...pass it on. Great poem.
Reviewed by E T Waldron 7/5/2003
Excellent, and wisely written,I respect the sentiment. Possibly altruism was more meaningful in an earlier culture, before cynicism and lack of respect became so prevalent!
Reviewed by Ted Sheridan (Reader) 7/5/2003
I don't believe in it except on a private and personable level, when government is involved, I vote no.
Reviewed by OnepoetGem *the Poetic Rapper 7/5/2003
Great ryhme. Interesting and entertaining to read. GEM
Reviewed by ***** ********* (Reader) 7/5/2003
Intelligence, integrity and compassion, anyone? It's so nice to read something by someone who really carefullty thinks through what they write! Leland, this is EXCELLENT work, bordering on the brilliant and certainly worthy of a wider audience. The questions this piece carefully and fearlessly poses are questions that bear examination -- and answering (certainly by far breater minds than mine, let me tell ya)! Thanks for posting this, it was a pleasure to read and to ponder over!
Reviewed by Robert Blackwell (Reader) 7/5/2003
You've raised some very pointed questions concerning our ulterior motives for doing good.

I shall study this one some more, as this write is now in my library.
Reviewed by Retta (Reindeer) Mckenzie 7/5/2003
Excellent Leland, absolutely outstanding,

Reviewed by Alexandra* OneLight* Authors & Creations 7/5/2003
**gulp**... This goes into my library, Leland. Not even in the most "secret" auto-analysis is it easy to admit some sharp truths of what you in such perfection assess here.
~~~Love, Light and Harmony~~~
Reviewed by Jeanette Foresta 7/5/2003
Excellent! What you said, and I think its good Karma. Or do unto others...
Reviewed by Carolyn Red Bear (The Bear Paw) 7/5/2003
Yes, you have been reading my mind, Leland! Excellent!
In Spirit,
Reviewed by Jerry Bolton (Reader) 7/5/2003
This is the most honest assesment of the act of giving that I have ever seen in print. Very well said Mr. Waldrip, I doff my hat to ya.
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