Monday, September 13, 2004


On Why I Stopped My Poems Explaining

The prophet, known by many names
(though none of them is fitting),
sought out in youth that which he found
in age by merely sitting
(a career move referred to
by less thoughtful folks as “quitting”).

In ancient Greece were two great minds
by the teeming masses sought;
though neither felt compelled to meet,
one of the other taught,
to which the one taught of replied,
“I know that I know not.”

And Christ, whose entire life was spent
with priests and emperors vying,
found he could not the din surmount
(‘twas not for lack of trying),
achieved his most complete success
through the expedient of dying.

Mohammed, in impetuous youth
by hiking kept quite trim,
trekking forth to far-off ranges
to keep his figure slim,
but growing sage in his old age
summoned the mount to him.

Buddha, shielded from the pain
in which our world is bound,
left his comfort to seek light
in the fury and the sound,
but later learned this light to be
interiorly found.

So, if you fault my lassitude,
regarding me quite lazy,
I’ll listen, though those faults you name
are unlikely to faze me,
as those great minds in which I find
myself in pleasant company,
do steel my will to sit quite still
as the world approaches me.

Dear Mr. Poet,

Could this be

'The Cult of the Couch Potato'?

"The wisdom of the scribe depends on the opportunity of leisure;
only the one who has little business can become wise.
How can one become wise who handles the plough,
and who glories in the shaft of a goad,
who drives oxen and is occupied with their work,
and whose talk ia all about bulls?"
-Jesus Bensira 180 BC:
The Bible (new revised standard version)
Sirach 38.24 - 39.5

In other words 'procrastination is a sign of creativity'? (as spouted by my 11th grade writing teacher?)
and, "the war that matters is the war against the imagination
all other wars are subsumed in it."
(-extracted from poem 'Rant'by Diane di Prima)
and even ,
"It is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top."
(Virginia Woolf)
and finally:
"You do not need to leave your room
remain sitting at your table and listen.
Do not even listen, simply wait.
Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked,
it has no choice.
It will roll in ecstasy at your feet."
(Franz Kafka)

I would say you're in good company.

Sincerely yours,
Jezebel Mongrel

Ja, was a fun one to write, this one.

I guess I still have a few more stanzas to research.
Now if I can just come up with a good polysyllabic rhyme for 'Kafka'...
A good one! Yes - enjoyed it quite a bit. Brought to mind Mr. Wordsworth, who said (albeit, less whimsically):

"Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility."

All hail tranquility!
Glad you liked, Randall.

Yeah, though it reminded me more of Lennon:

'I'm just sittin here watching the wheels go round and round / I really love to watch em roll / no longer riding on the merry-go-round / I just had to let it go...'

Sometimes I think the only reason I nurture any kind of political awareness is out of political guilt. I guess otherwise I feel like a fuzzy-headed member of a decadent society. I think, for that reason alone, I'd be the first to question the philosophy behind this one...

That said, it was fun writing it. Specially got an inward chuckle re: the Jesus stanza. Dunno why. Still sharpening it, though, to have it in the files...
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