I'm writing a poem and I want to use this specific wording, but I'm not sure if it's grammatically correct. Here is the line: "Will you ever ask for the truth or be it ignorant you stay?"
closed as unclear what you're asking by Janus Bahs Jacquet, FumbleFingers, user66974, Edwin Ashworth, Ronan Sep 1 '14 at 8:50
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If you insist on this inverted formulation -- for scansion reasons, perhaps -- I would suggest changing "be" to "is" unless you're deliberately trying to suggest a nonstandard dialect. I'd also suggest that the second clause should be in future tense to parallel "will you ever".
Will you ever ask for the truth, or is it ignorant you will stay?
But frankly, I'd suggest rewriting to avoid the problem entirely. Not knowing the context I can't propose alternatives.
If your wording means Do you want to know the truth or stay ignorant? then I have no problem understanding it. Be that as it may, there might be some people who will struggle with it.
It sounds a little like a slightly forced 17th century construction, similar to That it be for Yes it is
Do you use similar formations in other parts of the poem? If you do then the reader should have no problem, if not then it might be a little out of place.
As noted in a comment, it's a poem, grammar really only matters if you think it does.
Here's one that eschews a number of grammar rules
Written in the 1930's it is [anyone lived in a pretty how town] by E.E. Cummings
Note that "be" in this case would be the present subjunctive of to be. Consider the following chart of the verb "to be".
One uses the present subjunctive typically after a clause indicating an order, or stating that something is necessary or possible.
"I command that he be released." "I command that you release me."
The present subjunctive is usually identical to the third person singular present active indicative, but "to be" is an exception. The only case where I recall seeing the construction outside of these kinds of clauses is in the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. The Giant says, of Jack: "Be he live, or be he dead// I'll grind his bones to make my bread." The subjunctive there indicates uncertainty--the giant isn't aware of whether Jack's alive or not, but he's going to eat him, either way.
The more common subjunctive in English is the past subjunctive:
"If I were a rich man, . . . "