I've been foraging in some poetry books etc and came across these, which I particularly liked. Comments, please:
THE NEXT POEM by Dana Gioia
How much better it seems now
than when it is finally done -
the unforgettable first line,
the cunning ways the stanzas run.
The rhymes soft-spoken and suggestive
are barely audible at first,
an appetite not yet acknowledged
like the inkling of a thirst.
When gradually the form appears
as each line is coaxed aloud -
the architecture of a room
seen from the middle of a crowd.
The music that of common speech
but slanted so that each detail
sounds unexpected as a sharp
Inserted in a simple scale.
No jumble box of imagery
dumped glumly in the readerís lap
or elegantly packaged junk
the unsuspecting must unwrap.
But words that could direct a friend
precisely to an unknown place,
those few unshakeable details
that no confusion can erase.
And the real subject left unspoken
but unmistakeable to those
who donít expect a jungle parrot
in the black and white of prose.
How much better it seems now
than when it is finally written.
How hungrily one waits to feel
the bright lure seized, the old hook bitten.
THE BIBLIOMANIACíS PRAYER by Eugene Field (1850-1895)
Keep me, I pray, in wisdom's way
That I may truths eternal seek;
I need protecting care to-day,---
My purse is light, my flesh is weak.
So banish from my erring heart
All baleful appetites and hints
Of Satan's fascinating art,
Of first editions, and of prints.
Direct me in some godly walk
Which leads away from bookish strife,
That I with pious deed and talk
May extra-illustrate my life.
But if, O Lord, it pleaseth Thee
To keep me in temptation's way,
I humbly ask that I may be
Most notably beset to-day;
Let my temptation be a book,
Which I shall purchase, hold, and keep,
Whereon when other men shall look,
They'll wail to know I got it cheap.
Oh, let it such a volume be
As in rare copperplates abounds,
Large paper, clean, and fair to see,
Uncut, unique, unknown to Lowndes.
It probably was a better understood term back then
sort of like "a word unknown to Webster" type of implication
Well, possibly no matter to M's question.
Both seem examples of light verse to me - mildly humorous, that is. Both in iambic tet, but Dana's seems the better written, at least to my ear: some anapestic/dactylic/trochaic substitutions, with a smattering of feminine (two-syllable) endings mixed in to break up the monotony.
Each is a poem about writing, so purists may well object, but those of us who attempt poetic compositions, however capriciously, usually find them of interest.
Probably the same Lowndes. I guess meaning 'unmentioned in his book.'
I know the addiction. I just returned from a science fiction convention with a suitcase of books, only to discover at my mom's house, a trunkful of children's literature. I took them all.
Good for you !
These days, light verse seems to have more to say to me than the heavy stuff - I really struggle to make the effort to keep re-reading and dig for meanings in anything unfamiliar - age I guess. I recently joined a poetry discussion group to try to get back to something harder!
I identify all to strongly with the bibliophile - though it's the content of the book - any book in any condition - not the condition or rarity that hooks me - I have a pile of unread books nearly 3 feet high, and growing! Several of them I was desperate to get hold of, but they remain unread.
As to the Goia, I found it particularly interesting because I continually feel that sort of frustration about my inept attempts at painting, but can't remember doing so about composing poetry - I still like it a lot, though.