The Poets’ Dilemma

A cri de coeur can’t be a work of art.
Its zealousness drives sense away, sends rhyme
to moon at June and here (forgive me) ‘heart.’
From paucity, some poets may try on ‘clime.’
Aboard the wagons of the criers’ band,
the preacher’s prattle petrifies the mind
that tries to get away with sleight of hand.
We throw away the melon, serve the rind
whenever we press thoughts down for the counts.
We, Honest Poets, are prone to masquerade,
expose our raison d’être in petty flounce,
and lose an audience we quickly jade.
We could express ourselves in prose that’s terse,
but then we’d be believed, and that is worse.

The Poet’s Dilemma read by Peter Crofton Sleigh:

Grammar Rules OK

It is almost midnight. She reads rules of Spanish grammar
in Dutch. This lets her fall almost asleep
until she wonders, what rhymes with ‘soporific’
and her mind’s off to the races. Ballads clash
with terse short-footed lines
in epics she remembers or might write
a dozen times again, each time forgetting
that she needs the sleep that’s purchased with the boredom
she can only find in studying grammar rules.

Pauline Prose-Proust, Prussian Princess and Putative Protagonist of Unfinished Autobiography

I like to write in o.m.g. italics
with a font not seen since seventeen-sixteen.
It makes reviewers of my prose suppose
I’m original, or tetched, or must have been
in my merry minutes writing, running hose,
and shaping paragraphs to form a calyx
whose sense if any is sensory not flat
and factual. I am not ‘into’ that,
preferring quote-mark irony to ironing
and to too-perfect rhyme. I end up whining.