I am not a reputable poet. When actual poets hear me attempt to discuss quatrains and iambic feet they either try to change the subject or discreetly stuff wads of travel Kleenex in their ears. So let’s be clear from the start: I do not, nor will I ever, claim to be a learned and legitimate poet. I do, however, enjoy messing about with words. I have also harbored a lifelong fascination with symmetry and find poetic structure a fit medium for my own clumsy attempts at its expression.
The Ballad of Two Trips
I stood and stared at one last bag,
the weight of which I feared;
would cause it’s membrane to unwind
should sturdy ground be cleared.
Deep inside I knew ‘twas true,
two sturdy hands required:
one to brace, and one to grasp
the doorknob, once acquired.
A man of stouter heart than mine,
would surely know the way—
though two trips may be more than one,
the latter doesn’t pay.
But though good sense be true and straight,
it often fails to see,
How one path may not be the right,
yet still it longs to be.
And so I summoned ancient strength,
and made room ‘midst my load,
for one more bag, though I did think,
my kneecaps might explode.
Through the freezing bite of wind,
my spirit rose undaunted.
Exalting in my single trip,
‘tho doom stood by and haunted.
I should have guessed at sloth’s reward,
As hand drew near the latch.
A hundred pounds of food supplies
‘gainst plastic is no match.
A sick’ning crunch, the cans unbound,
from their elastic cell.
Fled down the drive and out of sight,
into their private hell.
Oh the depth of Echo’s grief,
as, watching from the beach,
she witnessed love of self dismayed,
exhumed beyond her reach.
Weep dear Echo, for the pride,
which shortens all our days.
For all the love of self we spent,
subverting longer ways.
In Praise of the Potato
(In Honor of The Blind Bards Literary Society)
Among the veggies near and far,
I own my likes and hates.
(All those which end in “Brassica”
Were banished to the fates.
And spinach leaf? Sure well enough
—if kept from wilting steam.
Once plunged beneath the roiling depths,
No spice can ‘ere redeem.)
But in this world of fiber filled
One siren song rings clear;
Tho’ rises from beneath a veil,
Of savorless veneer.
“Lift up the one potato!
All hail the knobbly prince!
Three cheers for the potato!
Whose legacy commence:”
I wonder if potatoes know
their time beneath the earth?
When all their world was murky clay
Awaiting shoveled birth?
As pulled from cool and loamy bed
Transferred to light’s embrace.
As rooted tendrils ripped away
Their nascent womb displaced.
When shaken to an inch of life
From their extent repose.
And plunged beneath the watercourse
Of someone’s backyard hose.
If we could look beyond the form,
To a potato’s soul.
What latent angst might there we find?
What tragedy unfold?
Would we survey a stoic poise
Absolving past offense?
Or would we meet a broken mind
Of seething recompense?
Perhaps ’tis best we let them lay
Assume their best intent.
Contribute them to scrambled eggs,
And casseroles augment.
Boiled, baked, or tossed in stew
The tuber ‘doth improve.
If set in plastic caliper,
A missile straight and true.
If chance forgotten in the dark
They soften ‘midst the shelves,
Content to grow a thousand eyes
And ripen in themselves.
So their inner lives enlarge
Though outward sallow’d in.
‘Ere ‘tho their flesh withdraw from bone
Slow fire burns within.
So we a small and motley crew
Tho’ not renowned for sense,
Invoke the virtue of the spud—
It’s weight and consequence.
If some conclude our voice is plain
Does water shy to boast?
It’s thirst assuaging qualities
A sensible riposte.
Tho’ passerbys may gaze amused
This feast (A seeming fast)
A keener mind will see at once
The bards at blind repast.
And these may well yet prove their worth,
In weight beneath their skin—
For though appearances deceive
The meek ones enter in.
Ode to Equality
(Horatian Ode: Arranged in homostrophic quatrains made up of rhyming couplets. L1, L2 iambic tetrameter; L3, L4 iambic trimeter)
They all set out in praise of same
They thought it might annul the pain,
To join us all identic,
Abolish the concentric.
So fast and slow were equalized,
Both bright and dull were subsidized
With no one left behind
—Except by pure design.
Happy now the marching crowd,
The wayward beats now meekly cowed,
So forward now together!
Absorbing the oppressor.
Here the placid, pallid plebs
Immobilized within a web
Whose strands persist homogeneous,
Dissuade a rogue Prometheus.
What’s this a weeping from behind?
What’s that a fraying of the line?
The quicker in retreat.
The slower’s burning feet.
Forward now, not one foot still
Apply thine ears with single will!
For all must synchronize,
If all must win the prize.
The day pianos play one note
The day no need for one to vote
We’ll raise the flag of peace
Oer’ consonance deceased.
When equal rights for everyone
When all the cautious Gatling gunned—
Then will the future horde
Pronounce their will as lord.
On Life Held Close
What unflinching courage.
—At first glance.
But then, do heroes clench,
what did not begin,
nor ever became,
Are these not more robber,
Are these not, rather, kidnapper
For what is a thief,
but one who gathers,
goods not his own?
Goods not so assured as uneased,
and much appeasement.
But yet oh judge,
bend inwards thine eye.
For not only cloaked and shadowed
—dripping icher, glowing red—
But smug, too, are smote.
And as thief revels in his thievery,
(or perhaps languishes)
so we, flag planted, stubborn anthem flung up,
and walls, though no windows.
So the old hatted poet, whose bold thievery acclaimed,
disavowed the owner.
(A neat trick perhaps—
though law may not find it so.)
Not realizing that th’ jewel of life, so clutched,
becomes a curse:
As the lily unfolds,
enflamed by wildling Shepherd;
in fierce possession.
True courage (perhaps)
to steal no longer?
to risk the Smelters fire,
Where, though scorch and dispose
those now-accursed goods,
Will exchange septupled silver.
All curse removed,
and now made good.
A wealth running down,
A thief no longer.
But son indeed.