Get Your Premium Membership

State of the Art II

State of the Art (II) These are my "ars poetica" poems about the art and craft of writing poetry. What the Poet Sees by Michael R. Burch What the poet sees, he sees as a swimmer ~~~~underwater~~~~ watching the shoreline blur sees through his breath’s weightless bubbles ... Both worlds grow obscure. In Praise of Meter by Michael R. Burch The earth is full of rhythms so precise the octave of the crystal can produce a trillion oscillations, yet not lose a second’s beat. The ear needs no device to hear the unsprung rhythms of the couch drown out the mouth’s; the lips can be debauched by kisses, should the heart put back its watch and find the pulse of love, and sing, devout. If moons and tides in interlocking dance obey their numbers, what’s been left to chance? Should poets be more lax—their circumstance as humble as it is?—or readers wince to see their ragged numbers thin, to hear the moans of drones drown out the Chanticleer? What Works by Michael R. Burch for David Gosselin What works? hewn stone; the blush the iris shows the sun; the lilac’s pale-remembered bloom. The frenzied fly: mad-lively, gay, as seconds tick his time away, his sentence?one brief day in May, a period. And then decay. A frenzied rhyme’s mad tip-toed time, a ballad’s languid as the sea, seek, striving, immortality. When gloss peels off, what works will shine. When polish fades, what works will gleam. When intellectual prattle pales, the dying buzzing in the hive of tedious incessant bees, what works will soar and wheel and dive and milk all honey, leap and thrive, and teach the pallid poem to seethe. Caveat Spender by Michael R. Burch for Stephen Spender It’s better not to speculate “continually” on who is great. Though relentless awe’s a Célèbre Cause, please reserve some time for the contemplation of the perils of EXAGGERATION. Kin by Michael R. Burch for Richard Moore 1. Shrill gulls, how like my thoughts you, struggling, rise to distant bliss— the weightless blue of skies that are not blue in any atmosphere, but closest here ... 2. You seek an air so clear, so rarified the effort leaves you famished; earthly tides soon call you back— one long, descending glide... 3. Disgruntledly you grope dirt shores for orts you pull like mucous ropes from shells’ bright forts... You eye the teeming world with nervous darts— this way and that... Contentious, shrewd, you scan— the sky, in hope, the earth, distrusting man. At Wilfred Owen's Grave by Michael R. Burch A week before the Armistice, you died. They did not keep your heart like Livingstone's, then plant your bones near Shakespeare's. So you lie between two privates, sacrificed like Christ to politics, your poetry unknown except for one brief flurry: thirteen months with Gaukroger beside you in the trench, dismembered, as you babbled, as the stench of gangrene filled your nostrils, till you clenched your broken heart together and the fist began to pulse with life, so close to death. Or was it at Craiglockhart, in the care of "ergotherapists" that you sensed life is only in the work, and made despair a thing that Yeats despised, but also breath, a mouthful's merest air, inspired less than wrested from you, and which we confess we only vaguely breathe: the troubled air that even Sassoon failed to share, because a man in pieces is not healed by gauze, and breath's transparent, unless we believe the words are true despite their lack of weight and float to us like chlorine—scalding eyes, and lungs, and hearts. Your words revealed the fate of boys who retched up life here, gagged on lies. Abide by Michael R. Burch after Philip Larkin's "Aubade" It is hard to understand or accept mortality— such an alien concept: not to be. Perhaps unsettling enough to spawn religion, or to scare mutant fish out of a primordial sea boiling like goopy green tea in a kettle. Perhaps a man should exhibit more mettle than to admit such fear, denying Nirvana exists simply because we are stuck here in such a fine fettle. And so we abide... even in life, staring out across that dark brink. And if the thought of death makes your questioning heart sink, it is best not to drink (or, drinking, certainly not to think). US Verse, after Auden by Michael R. Burch “Let the living creature lie, Mortal, guilty, but to me The entirely beautiful.” Verse has small value in our Unisphere, nor is it fit for windy revelation. It cannot legislate less taxing fears; it cannot make us, several, a nation. Enumerator of our sins and dreams, it pens its cryptic numbers, and it sings, a little quaintly, of the ways of love. (It seems of little use for lesser things.) Millay Has Her Way with a Vassar Professor by Michael R. Burch After a night of hard drinking and spreading her legs, Millay hits the dorm, where the Vassar don begs: “Please act more chastely, more discretely, more seemly!” (His name, let’s assume, was, er ... Percival Queemly.) “Expel me! Expel me!”—She flashes her eyes. “Oh! Please! No! I couldn’t! That wouldn’t be wise, for a great banished Shelley would tarnish my name ... Eek! My game will be lame if I can’t milque your fame!” “Continue to live here—carouse as you please!” the beleaguered don sighs as he sags to his knees. Millay grinds her crotch half an inch from his nose: “I can live in your hellhole, strange man, I suppose ... but the price is your firstborn, whom I’ll sacrifice to Moloch.” (Which explains what became of pale Percy’s son, Enoch.) Confetti for Ferlinghetti by Michael R. Burch Lawrence Ferlinghetti is the only poet whose name rhymes with “spaghetti” and, while not being quite as rich as J. Paul Getty, he still deserves some confetti for selling a million books while being a modern Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Like Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Lawrence Ferlinghetti was both poet and painter. Keywords/Tags: ars poetica, poetry, poems, poets, poetess, muse, art, craft, write, writing, book, books, Millay, Ferlinghetti

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020

Post Comments

Poetrysoup is an environment of encouragement and growth so only provide specific positive comments that indicate what you appreciate about the poem.

Please Login to post a comment

A comment has not been posted for this poem. Encourage a poet by being the first to comment.