Do not give that poet licence to print.
Trust him with nothing more than a bent quill.
Give him no room to manoeuvre, no hint
of suggestion; no modicum of thrill;
nothing to spill upon a naked page.
Just for his own amusement, he’ll distort
an innocent phrase; blatantly upstage
the messenger with elevated haught.
He’ll brazenly award himself credit
beyond his due; without hesitation,
he’ll tag himself as first to have said it…
Man of Words … with big imagination.
. This ‘Man of Words’ is just a dictionary,
. just a parrot, well-skilled at mimicry.
© Tim Grace, 23 November 2014
To the reader: It’s not words that commit the crime; it’s the choice of those words in combination with intent to harm or damage reputation. And so, the shady area of exploitation is encircled by interpretation. The cunning ‘poet’ will cleverly disguise his ambiguous message with layers of obfuscated connotation. Using every trick in the book, he’ll burden the reader with responsibility for word association.
To the poet: The parrot might be able to argue his words should not be taken literally. But, as a poet, you do have to take responsibility for the syntax and semantics of your artistic expression. Your deliberate acts of subtle word-play can cause a mischief that requires remediation; or at least, explanation. Blaming the reader for his/her sensitive interpretation is hardly the act of a chivalrous sonneteer.
Made in his likeness. More true than correct.
A permanent resemblance, confirming
his rigidity. In every respect
a replica; and in that sense, a thing
to be admired. As would justify
impressive compliment: so highly classed,
so desirable to this maiden’s eye.
Thus, besotted by his enduring cast,
she would praise upon him commendation.
Wonder at the depth of his conviction.
Absorb his strength, ride his motivation;
’til resolved of Cupid’s contradiction.
. Conviction is not a measure of length,
. without substance we have no strength.
© Tim Grace, 19 October 2014
To the reader: Stature has less to do with shape and form; more to do with conviction and substance. While the proportion of a figure provides insight into its mechanical advantages, the nature of its pose and posture suggest its depth of character. Poise and style are features of an impressive presence; something to be admired.
To the poet: Shakespeare enjoyed a little naughtiness. Sprinkled throughout his sonnets are references to all manner of subtle titillations. His last two sonnets (153 and 154) provide the most obvious examples of his brand of bawdiness. Never salacious or explicit just suggestive of something a little spicy. Could that be … surely not?
He stakes his claim and demands position,
stipulates his terms and fixes his spot.
We watch askance, this crude exhibition
of stubbornness; will he, or will he not?
Those around him, about his axel spin,
infantile argument, circular shape,
centrifugal anger fuelled from within.
A storm’s eye, vortex, that’s hard to escape.
He grips tight, pin-points his agitation.
He asserts his temperament; taciturn.
Imploding mood centres his rotation.
With spiralling momentum, so things churn.
. Stubbornness grips to a fixed position,
. and so gives no ground without condition.
© Tim Grace, 24 August 2013
To the reader: A child’s public tantrum makes an unpleasant scene; psycho-drama writ-large! With crudely-crafted powers of persuasion the toddler tests the strength of new-found tactics; claiming more independent territory with each event. The assertive-aggressive personality matures into an effective form of attention seeking; one that loses its stamp-of-approval with years beyond five or six. The storm quickly brews, tension builds; fury is released – damage is repaired and peace restored… the toddler is tamed!
To the poet: The public tantrum is no rare occurrence. Little bundles of dynamite regularly ignite; catching those in close-proximity by surprise. With short-wicks these volatile miscreants can derail a train of thought with devastating effect. The passenger-poet is one of many hapless victims. As the wreckage is surveyed, for post-crash forensics, there’s often an unaccounted empty seat … a surrendered supposition.
‘Tis one thing to be untaught, ignorant
of facts and figures; as to be naive.
Quite another to be belligerent,
to bludgeon truth and blatantly deceive.
One can accommodate some innocence,
show a little slack for lack of nous.
Such is not the case for arrogance:
long since the boarder; banished from the house.
For those with space to wonder, give them keys:
grant them all access to rooms full of room
To badgers and bullies who shoot the breeze
give to them the basement; dust and a broom.
. We learn to be wise, to know and believe,
. to stand in defiance of those who aggrieve.
© Tim Grace, 14 July 2013
To the reader: Knowledge without the balance of skills and understanding is as useful as a one-legged stool. Content can not stand alone. Context provides a subject with its reference-point. Our conservative school systems have for decades trained and rewarded the content-collectors to the detriment of children with more broad and practical forms of emotional and social intelligence. The know-all is a renowned nuisance … often a drag on the multi-talented team.
To the poet: There remain some clunky-lines that hold their place by virtue of adequate fill. In the absence of better content they suffice; for the moment anyway. Otherwise, and after some serious editing, this sonnet has some redeeming features. The context of consonance works well as belligerent emphasis. And I quite-like the line that gives “a little slack for lack of nous”. A poem is more than clever words; for them, we turn to a dictionary; with them, we build vocabulary; for more, we turn to art.