It’s not that she was pure of heart
and this was crudely broken.
Nor was it that she played no part
in how rudely she was woken.
It wasn’t that her heart had died
through a lover’s cruel neglect.
Rarely were her thoughts applied
to a life she should respect.
This maiden in a sense secured
a self-imposed displacement.
With ravenous greed she so procured
a deal that bought debasement.
. Take not the heart inside – as would sell a strumpet.
. When virtue is commodified – sound the bell and trumpet.
To the reader: Virtue and grace are beautiful qualities; so easily tarnished. The corruption of beauty is mostly defiled by an external influence. An ugly and crude influence with no respect for nature’s dignified design. Occasionally, the corruption is an internal fester that sullies from within. Sadly, self-corruption destroys the heart and soul and most darkens the shine of inner-beauty.
To the poet: To be labelled a strumpet is no good thing. The word’s etymology describes a crude pedigree: a hussy, a harlot; in short a shameless prostitute. Seems the word travelled through time accruing a coterie of associated meanings. From its notion of crudeness came ‘to strum’. To strum, as in to play coarsely, ineptly, on a stringed instrument.
At focal points, as hoisted high,
Our heroes stand aloft,
And so exposed to passers by,
They’re all too often scoffed.
Some are standing there aloof,
And gaze toward the yonder,
Of claim to fame there’s little proof,
And so the doubtful ponder.
Others more in comfort stand,
With gentle disposition,
Still it is that some demand,
The deepest inquisition.
. What of gilded honour, shamefully misplaced?
. Careful that our heroes are not wrongfully disgraced
To the reader: Our heroes are exposed to levels of scrutiny that we lesser mortals need not suffer. With fame, I assume, comes a one-to-many ratio of intangible relationships. As that ratio increases (favouring the crowd) so too the potential for a distorted message. Managing a hero’s branding must be no easy task. The temptation, of others to add a little notoriety to fame has perverse benefits; a lucrative attraction for those seeking coat-tail profits.
To the poet: Assonation, as described in dictionary terms, relates to corresponding sounds; particularly that of vowels. As poems develop they naturally gravitate towards a group of sounds. In this poem ‘and’ resonates as a conjunction of thought and extension of sound; it acts as the overture to stand and demand … an assertive prompt!
The higher that we stake our claim
The loftier our reach,
The fewer people play the game,
The more it means to each.
The greater sums that we invest,
The richer the reward,
The better that we do our best,
The louder they applaud,
The closer that we get to home,
The easier we sleep,
The longer that I write this poem,
The less it’s worth to keep.
. The finer that we mill our grains,
. The less of what began remains.
To the reader: The nub of the matter is often in dispute. People like to get to the point. We resent a purposeless consumption of energies. We seek positive relationships between inputs and outputs; effort and return. Each of us has a measuring stick by which we determine our expected degree of gain. At some point that extra bit of effort loses its impact. Satisfaction is the pivot; frustration the tipping point!
To the poet: As a definite article ‘the’ serves two masters. Firstly, it’s attached to items deserving specific attention within the text. Secondly, it establishes a reader-to-writer relationship relative to objects and subjects in the narrative. The defines things as specific to the statement; anchors internal meaning to external understandings of position and place. By the way, ‘the’ is the most commonly used word in the English language.
If profit is our only cause,
Then limit not the market.
Let them starve on foreign shores
For it guarantees our target.
If speed is used to measure skill,
Then limit not velocity,
Just beware that this might kill,
Our common sense of quality.
If it’s pedestals that make us fall,
From grace to deep depravity,
Then maybe we should ban them all,
To force the hand of gravity.
. Stupid thoughts will incubate,
. Hence the need to regulate.
To the reader: We can wrap stupidity in garlands of bright remark. The preposterous thought is easily disguised as plausible. The laws of logic can be mimicked, befuddled into submission. The accepted truth is often more convenient than it is tested. There is no shortage of dumbness on display. Mostly, as benign, it does no harm; but on occasions the fatuous need reminding of their folly.
To the poet: The art of evaluation is based upon determining the veracity of if/then relationships. This sonnet’s backbone, being about logic, is structured to parody an if/then sequence of thought. There’s a pattern to each four-line stanza. The first pair of lines establish the if/then relationship; and the last two provide a perverse conclusion. Take it as you will; but look before you leap to a conclusion.
As golden as our gait might seem,
We cannot run much faster,
The more we pace at rates extreme,
The closer steps disaster.
As brightly as our stars might shine,
Be they cast upon a silver screen,
Or raised as part of night’s design,
Both in time become routine.
As noble as we paint our cause,
With posture and good poise,
If the canvas is but full of flaws,
Then thus itself destroys.
. As often as not, our pledged convictions,
. Meet the knot of contradictions.
To the reader: The source of a disaster becomes more obvious at the point of no return; at the precipice!. That inevitable conclusion, that certainty, delivers that unavoidable consequence; that calamity. That ‘that’ was always going to have that ending. For that ending was designed into that beginning. That be so. That be that.
To the poet: When is a poem not a riddle? I often write surrounded by people doing crosswords; riddling out a cryptic solution. The obtuse poem and the cryptic riddle have much in common… word play. Together in time, apart in place, we silently sip our coffee untangling semantic clues. For the poet, unlike his company, he poses and answers his own riddles.
We hold true to our convictions,
As determined through belief,
We deny our contradictions,
As would worry us to grief.
We deliver our devotions,
With dedicated verve,
We limit our emotions,
With bundles in reserve.
We prize with admiration,
Every skerrick of her soul,
We lack the dedication,
To surrender our control.
. Through trust our faith is born,
. Make not ‘must’ that it be sworn.
To the reader: How we arrive at our conclusions and determine our responses is a matter of overlapping considerations. As one decision adds to the next the combined wisdom will lighten or darken in transparency. A great decision may have required an enormous number of overlaps but in combination will seem crystal clear. On the contrary, a clumsy decision, muddied with contradiction, will always be opaque.
To the poet: The symmetry of this sonnet appeals to my structural sensibilities; it unpacks with layered clarity. Throughout the poem there are patterns woven into its wordy web. In a vertical sense the lines alternate to emphasise that ‘we’ are at the centre of trusting relationships. And horizontally, the lines switch between short and long syllabic words. To finish, the last couplet share an internal rhyme; trust we must.