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The Edge of the Vase

The brownish purple, white-edged flowers
Hung from the edge of the vase
Like mourners at a New Orleans funeral

Passing as a well-schooled scholar
He makes an earnest attempt to educate
The passer-byes in his wake

The flowers must be thrown out
The moldy water must be rinsed out
Killing the new flowers for beauty in the vase

Writer: A Block

Writer: A Block

The writer sits extending his wrists,
And feelings and thought do mix;
Or, the writer walks through wooded fair,
The wind whipping through hair:
The ideas tumble, reeking of trouble,
And furrows the brow from ear to ear;
Family and friends do hide from him,
To pass the writeless day.

The thoughts are there, yet in a fog,
The joyless task today,
Where others won’t tread, to me my home
All lost in mindless stare:
This place without work, it soothes my soul,
Comfort in a knowing loss;
The wordless pages my senses please,
This is where I’m at!

The antenna seems to miss the call
These words of mine fulfill,
The page, my liege, they must be best,
Because they flow from you!
Still all I want (please, oh Muse, grant
Just one complete poem, just one!)
And to write you just deny,
Assist me to desist.

[Based on Robert Burns’ Winter: A Dirge (1910)]

The Wild Teenager

The Wild Teenager

Wild teen and your mild growth spurt,
Hid in the tumultuous, busy school,
Untouched your honeyed blossoms grew,
Unseen your young fingers fool:
No roving bully will crush you here,
No busy body provokes a tear.

By Nature’s self in flesh arrayed,
She asks you to shun the wanting eye,
And sat here in the great oak’s shade,
And heard the bubbling brook go by;
Thus murmuring the summer goes,
Your days without rest fly.

Filled with the energy that must decay,
I grieve to see your future doom;
They fell asleep – neither were they more awake,
The children that from Eden bloom;
Unpitying time, and Age’s power
Shall leave no visage of this youth.

From early morning the sun rose
This is from where you came:
If from nothing, you’ve nothing to lose,
For at death you are the same;
The flash between is but an hour
Recapturing the light of a teen.

[Based on The Wild Honey Suckle by Philip Freneau (1786)]

Cry No More, Sad Trees

Cry No More, Sad Trees

Cry no more, sad trees;
For what do your leaves fall so fast?
See how the mountains stand ready
For snow to gently blanket.
But the sun’s energy encompassing
Sees not your falling leaves
That now lie sleeping
Quietly, now gently lies
Sleeping.

Renewing is the sleep,
A peaceful winter’s nap.
Does not the sun also rise
Every day as you sleep?
Rest you then, rest, sad trees,
Wither not with your tears
While the earth lies sleeping
Quietly, now gently lies
Sleeping.

[Based on an anonymous poem in John Dowland’s Third and Last Book of Songs or Airs (1603)]

The Manner of Kids Nowadays

The Manner of the Kids Nowadays

So many droopy pants
Towns with transplants
And breasts with implants,
I never saw:
So many good songs
The crowds in throngs
The showing of thongs,
I never saw.

So many hats worn
Twisted and shorn
And so many forlorn,
I never saw:
Way too many laws
The kids drawing straws
And getting beaten for their flaws,
I never saw.

So many good books
So few good nooks
So few that reading hooks,
I never saw:
Spelling by phonetics
Faces covered in cosmetics
Downright dastardly apathetic,
I never saw.

. . .

It is a pity that every day
So many gamblers go that way
Buy with their winnings our democracy
I never saw,
To the Universe I make my plea
That all the kids come out and see
Different than I hold them to be
Never was it worse!

Amendment
Indeed a rant
Though it may not be;
We have exiled empathy.
God is either dead or sick;
The kids all know this bit
They will use their wit,
And you must believe it.
For better I hope ever,
And worse was it never.

[Based on The Manner of the World Nowadayes by John Skelton (?)(1500)]

Of Food and Television

Of Food and Television

Macaroni, cheese, and soda is most their fare
America’s diet fine;
Thy cup runs over with supermarkets’ galore
Isles of chips and cheap wine.

Sometimes God gives them steak or fish,
Yet they are content without
And what they get, they divvy with friends
Yet strangers go without.

Reality TV is rich to see,
Let none think it’s fake:
In wilderness, on the Jersey Shore,
These craven scoundrels shake.

[Based on Roger Williams’ Of Eating and Entertainment]

From the Dream of Common Taste Buds

From the Dream of Common Taste Buds

No one comes into this kitchen
Without confronting the stainless appliances
Next to the breadbox, shelves of food,
Photographs of delicious looking peppers.
Without contemplating last and late
The true nature of food.  The drive
To cook, to eat.  The dream of common taste buds.

[Based on Adrienne Rich’s From the Dream of a Common Language]


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