Friday, August 04, 2006

"Abiding in the ash"       [ballad]


If poetry is failure by other means
  if war is failed diplomacy   I wonder
does earth which waves triumphal flags of vernal greens
  absorb what blood of war the poem would ponder?

If poetry is failure by other means
  or maybe florid striving on a field
implied (if not configured) by its silken screens
  what fruit might such an effort finally yield?

If poetry is failure by other means
  at least the damage looks to be contained
the heart that sought ecstatic cries or tragic keens
  accepts its tepid tea politely brained


"Behold the skewer of shishkabob! inspect it
  this used to be my heart" the poet brags
though poetry be failure   those who perfect it
  may hide pearlescent palaces in rags

The aim of poetry one must renegotiate
  its fulcrum shifts with every transient tide
and what if poetry's failure?   we'll prevaricate
  or in the ash of our defeat abide

Abiding in the ash may not seem elegant
  and yet the ashen have astounding phrases
supposing poetry's failure?   be diligent
  in secret   life's absurd in many phases


The strategy of utterance   is discovery
  discovery implies   initial darkness
if language is a form of   truth-recovery
  does poetry (like failure) ask for starkness?

Ah paradox   is language at its root
  while irony   is language at its edge
if poetry is failure   hey! don't shoot
  it's apt to talk you down from hazard's ledge

If swift to ask   though flip in offering answer
  it's patently   your mind in dreamy guises
if poetry is anything   romance her
  so coy   amid her baffling disguises


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