Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Expertise Lost -- by Elliot Bougis

Whither hath the reason
of our withered rhymes gone?
Wherefore do we speed away
from the form of Milton and Donne?
Many a poet today hath no taste for form.
We who rhyme, we stray from the norm.

A string of endless, angry phrases
binds our thoughts – like Chinese women feet
and wins our praises – like Chinese women feet.
Rarely today doth a bard seek classical meter.
Such “stilted” form causes interest to peter.
And get me not started on the usual themes:
godless hopes and lustful, belligerent dreams.

I strive instead for the voices of old
though their work is so warmly loved
as their tombs are cold.
Yea, I concede freedom of verse
is not the worst
that poetry can be
or not to be.

But surely you see:
unmolded art
is scarcely set apart
from the frustrated screams
of godless hopes and lustful, belligerent dreams.
When words on paper d is in te gr ate,
farewell, “hope,” “fear,” “love,” and “hate”!
To transgress margins on paper, in our poetry
woos us serpently to regress in life
from art
to anomie

The free-versed poet complains of being trapped
by poets’ fustian styles they once had tapped.
Neologism here, meter warped there – tempered art is spurned.
And with the ancient words is also
the ancient bridge of ancient values burned.

We want our lives to imitate nothing else
but what we worship in our mundane hells.
Thus we rhyme
into formless art
where hope and trust ne’er can start.

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